Ola Kamara has made life miersable for opposing defenders and goalkeepers. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports)
Special to FrontRowSoccer.com
HANOVER, N.J. — Now you see him, then you don’t.
And if you don’t figure out where Ola Kamara is on the field when he “disappears” there is a good chance you will be seeing him celebrate a goal.
That’s how dangerous the Columbus Crew striker is.
The numbers say a lot about the 27-year-old forward. Since joining the Major League Soccer side last season, the Oslo, Norway native has celebrated scoring a goal 20 times in 33 matches, including four this season. That is pretty impressive marksmanship.
The Red Bulls obviously want to make sure it doesn’t happen when they host Columbus at Red Bull Arena Saturday at 7 p.m.
“Kamara, since he’s been there, has always been a final play guy,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said told reporters earlier this week. “He doesn’t concern himself with the run of play. He hangs out in offsides positions often. He’s always thinking about being available when the ball gets into wide positions and he’s very dangerous in the box. So, its sets up to be a challenge for us.”
Which is something that Marsch has reminded his team about as it puts its finishing touches on game preparation.
“Keeping track of him is important and not letting him lull you to sleep,” the coach said. “He can be sort of quiet for big stretches of the game but then he can have a hat-trick. That’s the key with him. With all the othyer moving parts that they have in the game, you can’t forget keeping track of Kamara. we’ve talked about that and we’ll make sure that he’s just not standing alone in the middle of the goal.”
Added center back Aurelien Collin: “When he has one opportunity he can score so we’re going to have to very disciplined. A striker tries to make himself to forget about him and then in one play he will be in a very tricky position, he can score. So, we have to be very careful with him.”
It’s all about keeping track of Kamara and taking control of the game so Columbus can’t fulfill its game plan, according to midfielder Felipe.
“I know he can make a difference,” he said. “We have to put the game on our terms.
“Kamara has proven himself, especially last year. He can score goals. He’s a scoring machine. If we defend as a group we will take care of what Jess wants us to do on the field. Tactically, if we do our jobs on the day we can eliminate all those players, especially the [ones who] score goals.”