With fringe United States internationals Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen among others missing out on call ups this weekend, it appeared the New England Revolution would not be represented during the international window.
That is until the Sierra Leone called up striker Kei Kamara for their pivotal, winner take all matchup in Group I against Ivory Coast in Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying.
Saturday's match will be Sierra Leone's fourth and final contest in the group stage of 2017 AFCON qualifying, where the nation is competing alongside Ivory Coast and Sudan in Group I. Sierra Leone currently ranks second in the group with four points (1-1-1), while Ivory Coast leads Group I with five points (1-2-0); Sudan has already completed group play and is eliminated with four points (1-1-2) and a fourth team Gabon was drawn into the group but their games counted as friendlies and not towards the group standings. Sierra Leone needs a win to advance to the final tournament, which would be their first since 1996 and just third overall appearance. A total of 16 teams will compete in the 31st edition of the championship governed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Kamara will be representing Sierra Leone for the first time in nearly a year. His last appearance came when his native country hosted Ivory Coast in an AFCON qualifying match on Sept. 6, 2015, a 0-0 draw. The Kenema, Sierra Leone native has earned 24 caps with the team and has totaled four goals in his international career and most recently scored for Sierra Leone on Sept. 4, 2014 in a 2015 AFCON qualifying match against eventual champions Ivory Coast.
With Kamara missing this weekend's game against the Colorado Rapids, it's very likely the Revs will turn to Juan Agudelo up top as a lone striker. Rookie Femi Hollinger-Janzen is still listed on the injury report but could be an option off the bench and Teal Bunbury would also be an option though he has mainly featured as a winger for New England.
Best of luck to Kei and Sierra Leone this weekend in their quest to qualify for AFCON.