New Minnesota United striker Kei Kamara wore a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt after Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Columbus Crew SC. He started a video conference call with reporters by urging everyone to vote in November before he discussed a night’s work his team almost salvaged.
“It was a tough day,” Kamara said after playing 70 minutes in his Loons’ debut. “I was happy to get out there with the boys and give my best that I could in this game.”
He called it tough on far differing levels — from a 16-hour travel day, to a grueling game against the league leaders in which the Loons scored twice very late but were ruled offside on the tying goal, to the day’s news after a Louisville grand jury reached a decision in the March killing of Breonna Taylor by police.
“We want to see the future be bright and better for our kids and our kids’ kids,” Kamara said. “We’re still praying and fighting for that, hoping for change.”
Loons coach Adrian Heath called himself and his team “a little bit aggrieved” over how Wednesday’s game ended. Trailing 2-0 after 70 minutes, Loons midfielder Robin Lod scored the first goal Columbus Crew has surrendered at home all season in the 89th minute.
Two minutes into four minutes of stoppage time, Emanuel Reynoso’s 50-yard run with the ball drew a foul and set up his bending free kick that bounced off the heads of Loons defenders Jose Aja and Michael Boxall into the net. A linesman signaled Aja a fraction offside.
Video review affirmed the call and Minnesota United players and coaches gathered afterward for a replay. Kamara called the final decision an “injustice.”
“Having just watched it, I don’t know what the rule is anymore,” Heath said. “They get told to keep the flag down and let the play finish and then have a look after. From the clip we’ve seen, he’s not offside. Disappointed. It’ll be interested to see what [MLS officiating executives] say when they look at it.”
Into this game, Columbus Crew was unbeaten in its past 10 home games, dating to last season. It had outscored opponents 20-4 and, this season, didn’t allow a goal in its first five home games. It controlled much of Wednesday’s game until Lod’s left-footed, one-timer out of the air gave the Loons hope.
Three minutes later, the Loons celebrated what they thought was a point earned on a night they played without a handful of key players.
“Everyone is feeling it,” Kamara said. “At end of game, we felt we could take a point. The frustration of coming in and everybody watching the replay and seeing what should have happened, the frustration is good for us. It’s positive. We’re going back home ready to play a couple games. We can’t go back and watch the video and change the decision. ”
Afterward, teammate Hassani Dotson opened his interview also urging people to vote.
“We’re not just preaching Black Lives Matter like it’s a slogan,” Kamara said. “It’s not. We live every day in our skin and everywhere we go.
“Yes, the news about Breonna Taylor today, laying in bed after our flight landed and getting ready to come to this game and I’m just thinking how this can be a decision that hurts many.”