In a move that can only be called “expected,” the New England Revolution today traded forward Kei Kamara to the Vancouver Whitecaps for their 2019 SuperDraft first round pick and their 2020 SuperDraft second round pick. This being MLS there are all kinds of “ifs, ands, and buts” involved, but they are essentially* meaningless. What this really amounts to is the Revolution moving on from one of its bigger personnel mistakes. No, no, wait, let me explain.
Kemara was…fine (19 goals in 52 matches) during his almost two seasons with the Revolution, but he was not the “game changer” that the club hoped he would be and most of the blame for that falls on the club, which did little to nothing to adapt its play to his strengths as a goal scorer. Too often Kamara seemed to be operating entirely on his own up front and it’s to his credit that he was able to score as many goals as he did. The biggest part of this mistake, however, was what the Revolution gave up to get a player that the Crew were trying to get rid of! Kamara had just had a bust-up over who would take a PK with crew legend Federico Higuain and the Revolution still managed to massively overpay for him:
The Revolution were also hoping to give their PR profile a boost in the wake of Jermaine Jones’ departure from the club, and that didn’t happen. As flamboyant as he can be, Keimara was not the club captain or focal point, and though an international player, he was not one for a high profile country, never mind the United States. So, again, while Kamara did his part on the field, the Revolution were typically inept in all other aspects of this deal and have moved him onto Vancouver for roughly half of what they gave up to get him.
In the bigger picture the Revs have now moved on from their two designated players (Kamara and Xavier Kouassi) and have only Krisztian Nemeth, Juan Agudelo, and Femi Hollinger-Janzen as true forwards, Diego Fagundez is more of a winger/attacking midfielder. Thats not a bad group, but it’s a small one and I can’t imagine the club starting the 2018 season without adding to it- especially given all of the money they have recently freed up.
Finally, there are local reports that the club is interested in USMNT and Nottingham Forest defender Erick Lichaj, 29. Lichaj has been a mainstay for Forest since joining the club from Aston Villa in 2013, playing over 150 senior matches, captaining the Championship side, and being named as the supporters’ “Player of the Year” for 2016-2017. I don’t think there’s any “smoke” here, never mind “fire.” Lichaj and the club are working on a new deal and the player and the club have both indicated publicly that staying at the City Ground is likely. Lichaj would be a good addition to the Revs back line, but I think they just made it known that they were interested in case it might motivated Lichaj to leave Forest.
As always, stay tuned…
*one being that if Vancouver sells Kamara outside of MLS the two clubs will split the fee. He’s 33. The only league he’d be headed to for a big payday is the one he’s already in.