Kei Kamara is the Al MacInnis of MLS, and His Team Is On the Rise

They don’t have a skills competition at the MLS All-Star Game, but if they did, we’d put money on 26-year-old Sierra Leone international Kei Kamara to win the Hardest Shot contest. His shot is anvil-heavy, and all he needs is a sliver of space to get it off. Case in point, versus DC United on Sunday:

That was Kamara’s seventh goal of the year (in 22 appearances) and he and his team are peaking at the right time. After a miserable 1-6-9 road trip to start the season, Sporting Kansas City opened their state-of-the-art new stadium, Livestrong Park, on June 9, and reeled off a 14-game unbeaten streak. That run was broken by a stomach-punch loss to Seattle on Aug 6, but SKC has bounced back with two wins in a row since then, cruising past Portland 3-1 two weeks ago and dropping DC this past Sunday on Kamara’s strike. They’re currently 9-7-9 and in second place in the East.

In addition to the 6-3, 185-pound Kamara, SKC lines up Mexican star Omar Bravo, U.S. international Teal Bunbury, and our pick for 2011 Rookie of the Year, CJ Sapong (who has a U.S. national team call-up in his future if he keeps progressing).

Coach Peter Vermes threw all four of them at DC on Sunday, and despite the presence of (essentially) four strikers, and attacking midfielder Graham Zusi (five goals, four assists this year, and, according to Mrs. BP, not unpleasant to look at), his team was still solid defensively: they got a shutout, and they surrendered just a couple of clear chances. (Kansas City lines up the pedigreed Julio Cesar at centerback, with solid Americans Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, and Chance Myers following his lead on the backline.)

SKC also has more home games remaining (7 out of 9) than any other team in the league. You have to like their chances heading down the stretch. Judging by this clip from after the DC game, they do too:

MLS Philly Fans a Cut above Regular Philly Fans

You may or may not have heard that Kansas City Wizards coach Peter Vermes was slapped with a DUI arrest on August 30, but the Sons of Ben, the Philadelphia Union’s supporters club, certainly did.

And we’re happy to report that the way they used this information represents a significant break from the tradition of mainstream sports fans in Philadelphia—the people who pelted Santa Claus with snowballs, cheered a potential neck injury to Michael Irvin, necessitated an in-house jail at the old Veterans Stadium, and perpetrated vomit-assaults on young girls.

Compared to all that, the Sons of Ben went positively Oscar Wilde on Vermes and the Wizards when they came to PPL Park this past Saturday.

When Kansas City took the field, fans launched into their own Vermes-tailored version of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” Very funny; very funny.

Then they kept going. And going. And it became brilliant, as they worked their way through every verse of the song. They paused now and again as game events dictated, but they eventually reeled off the whole thing.

We’re pretty sure this is a landmark moment for both MLS supporters’ wit and sports fandom in the city of Philadelphia.

Here’s some video: