Not even a little jet lag can slow down Kei Kamara.
Just a couple of days after returning from Nigeria, where he helped Sierra Leone to a tie with Ivory Coast and encountered some flight trouble on his way home, Kamara scored twice to extend his Golden Boot lead and lead Columbus Crew SC to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at a soggy PPL Park on Saturday night.
Harrison Afful had a hand in both goals for Crew SC (12-9-8), who rebounded from a three-goal loss to FC Dallas last week and are now 4-1-1 in their last six to move closer to the top two spots in the Eastern Conference.
C.J. Sapong scored for the Union (8-15-6), who have followed each of their last two upset road victories with crushing losses at home, as their playoff hopes move closer to being extinguished.
Kamara’s first goal came in the 21st minute as his diving header beat Union goalkeeper John McCarthy to the back post. Columbus were a bit fortunate on the play as Afful’s cross flicked off the head of Union defender Richie Marquez right to a wide-open Kamara.
Just five minutes later, Afful and Kamara struck again with the right back getting behind Fabinho and playing a ball on the ground across the face of goal that found Kamara’s sliding boot. With little room to work with, the Golden Boot leader snuck the ball just inside the post for his 20th goal of the season -- only the 16th MLS player to ever hit that mark.
The Columbus striker now leads Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco by three goals in the Golden Boot race.
Trailing by a pair of goals, the Union found some life in the 66th minute when second-half sub Conor Casey played a ball behind the defense to Sebastien Le Toux, who bodied off Tony Tchani and slid it across the box to Sapong.
Sapong calmly tapped the ball in for his team-leading eighth goal of the season, but the Union’s only other good chance to score after that came in the 78th minute when Steve Clark saved a deflected Le Toux shot that eventually ended up hitting the crossbar.
The Union return to action next Sunday with a home game against Houston (7 pm ET; FS1/FOX Deportes/FOX Sports GO), while Crew SC travel to D.C. United on Saturday (7 pm ET; MLS LIVE).