Rowe's long-range blasts find mark
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Kelyn Rowe found so much space to work with on Sunday that he almost didn’t know what to do with it.
Fortunately for the Revolution, their sophomore central midfielder didn’t forgo a pair of opportunities to score from long range en route to a 5-1 thrashing of the fourth-place Union.
Rowe, who also scored in last week’s 2-0 win over the Fire, opened the scoring in the 26th minute, then kicked the door through in the 65th minute to give the 12,531 in attendance their money’s worth.
“He can hit those,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said for Rowe’s blasts. “He does that in training a lot and a lot of times he’s been trying to find the rifle sniper shot and he’s got some good range on that shot.”
With both teams stringing together strong passing sequences, Chad Barrett broke into the attacking third and found Rowe on his right. Surprised to see so much room to roam, Rowe set his sights on the Union net, then unleashed a shot from 25 yards that skipped away from the dive of Zac MacMath.
“They’d been dropping a lot,” Rowe said of the Union’s defenders. “So I thought ‘let it run by and try to hit it on goal.’ Luckily, it just trickled inside the far post.”
Although the long-range blast allowed the Revolution to seize the early momentum, they almost made it a two-goal contest in first-half stoppage time when Juan Agudelo found a wide open chance. But Agudelo’s shot swerved wide of the near post.
“I felt like I let my teammates down during the first half,” Agudelo said. “I feel like it was my fault. I take full responsibility for keeping Philadelphia in the game and them tying the game.”
The Union pulled even only six minutes after the break, when Conor Casey played a perfect through ball to Danny Cruz, who eluded Matt Reis near the edge of the box and slid it into an open net in the 51st minute.
While Agudelo may have felt bad for allowing their conference foe to level it -- especially after the Union had two apparent goals called back in the 53rd and 55th minutes -- he found redemption in the 58th minute.
On a quick break, Fagundez took it toward the final third before the mohawked midfielder sent it wide for Agudelo. With only MacMath in his way, Agudelo powered a shot that, despite taking a deflection off of a late-charging Amobi Okugo, still dropped into the net.
Then, in the 65th minute with the Union still within striking distance, Rowe pulled the lever on the floodgates. And the goals flowed through in quick succession.
After Dimitry Imbongo fought off Okogu for the ball, the second-year striker fed Rowe, who gave it another go -- this time from 30 yards -- and tucked a shot under the bar.
“It’s one of those where you make one, you want to make two, three, four,” Rowe said. “So for me, [the first goal] just gave me that little bit of confidence to hit that second one.”
Rowe may not have found number three or four, but his teammates soon picked up the slack. Fagundez found the back of the net in the 71st minute before Agudelo, who’s initial strike was later ruled an own goal, scribbled his name on the scoresheet in the 73rd minute.
“I’m proud of the way the guys reacted,” Heaps said. “We were able to use the players who had the energy on the field to change it and I liked that.”
As for Rowe, whose stellar night was enough to beat the Union single-handedly, he wasn’t at all surprised to see his side explode for five goals, even against a Union side with a stout defensive reputation.
“We know we were capable of it,” Rowe said. “It was good for us to find the net again in a big way, so we’re happy about it.”