The Vancouver Whitecaps have acquired forward Kei Kamara from the New England Revolution in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick and a conditional pick in 2020, the club announced on Sunday.
Kamara has been a consistent, but much-traveled goal scorer in MLS, with 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 league and playoff appearances. In addition to the Revolution, Kamara has played for the Columbus Crew (twice), San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, and Sporting Kansas City. He also had spells in England with Norwich City and Middlesbrough.
"Kei is a player that brings goals and experience to the table," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "He's a big body and he thrives off crosses. Most importantly, he's a good character and he's driven to win. We firmly believe that Kei can help lead this team into exciting times next year."
The 33-year-old has been a powerful presence in leading the front line for teams, but has at times worn out his welcome. In 2016, an on-field spat with Federico Higuain hastened a trade from Columbus to New England in exchange for General Allocation Money, Targeted Allocation Money, multiple draft picks and an international roster spot.
The hope for the Revs was that Kamara would be the kind of scorer he was for Columbus in 2015, when he tallied 22 goals and eight assists and was an MVP finalist. But he never really settled in with New England, who lacked players to provide the kind of service from wide upon which he thrives, and scored 19 goals in 52 games.
Now Kamara will head to Vancouver, a side in need of diversifying its attack beyond the set pieces and counterattacks that were its mainstays in 2017. There will be competition as the Whitecaps recently acquired forward Anthony Blondell from Venezuelan side Monagas SC.
Sources added that Vancouver is still trying to bring back forward Fredy Montero, who was on loan from Tianjin TEDA this past season and could be loaned out again in 2018.
Meanwhile, in addition to the draft picks, New England also have the benefit of getting Kamara's salary off the books. Last year he made $800,000 in guaranteed compensation, but a source with knowledge of the situation said he is set for $1 million in 2018.