Sunday, June 3, 2012
Kelyn Rowe ignites Revs in win over Fire
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Coming off a 120-minute performance during Tuesday's Open Cup overtime loss, few would have guessed that Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe would be the star attraction on Saturday.
Tired legs? Not so much.
Six minutes after coming onto the field for Fernando Cardenas in the 64th minute, Rowe broke a scoreless tie to lift New England (5-7-1, 16 points) to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire (5-5-3, 18 points).
"Jay told me to come in and give us some energy and make an impact," Rowe said. "First touch of the ball and it's almost a goal and the second was a goal so it was pretty fun."
With the Revolution struggling to find the back of the net for the first hour, Rowe certainly gave the Revolution the spark they needed.
Kelyn Rowe made a huge impact upon entering the game in the 64th minute.
In the 65th minute, Saer Sene sent a through pass into the area for Rowe, who escaped the Fire center backs and went in alone on goalkeeper Sean Johnson. But a poor finish allowed Johnson to stifle Rowe's first crack on frame and keep the Revolution off the board.
Five minutes later, Rowe got another shot at being the hero. With the Fire scrambling inside their own end, Benny Feilhaber fed it through to Rowe. This time, the rookie midfielder didn't miss, as he calmly flicked it past a diving Johnson.
"I thought, First touch, I have to take it inside and beat the first defender," Rowe said. "'Second touch, put it away. You have to put it away and this one you have to score because the last one, you missed."
Rowe admitted he was "definitely tired" following the Open Cup marathon, but coach Jay Heaps sensed that his first-round pick had something to add to the Revolution attack.
"I think you saw when he came into the game," Heaps said. "There was a different buzz about him. He almost scored the first time. It was a great run -- go back and look. We saw it right in front of us. Good save. Sean Johnson made a huge save."
But Rowe wasn't quite finished. Still basking in the glow of giving his team the lead, Rowe returned the favor to Feilhaber only 3 minutes later.
With the Revolution pressing for a second, Rowe sent a keen diagonal ball into the area, where Feilhaber dropped his mark and slid it through to make it 2-0 in the 73rd minute.
"He just put me in perfectly," Feilhaber said. "I looked up to see if I could get it in to a forward and I think Saer (Sene) was covered by one or two guys and I just thought aim for the 5-hole and put it in, and thankfully it went in."
Although the Revolution held the ball well in the first half (57.1 percent possession), Feilhaber credited his fellow midfielder for sparking the attack once he came on minutes after the witching hour.
"I think (Rowe) gave us a little something different," Feilhaber said. "Fernando gave us a great 60 minutes. Kelyn came in with a new energy and was able to right off the bat get in behind. I think he made those two great runs that allowed us to get those opportunities."
And from those opportunities, the Revolution flourished. Not only were they able to secure their first win since a 4-1 victory over Vancouver on May 12, but they were also able clinch 3 valuable points against a conference foe.
Meanwhile, Rowe could only relish the moment in the locker room afterward. Coming off the best game of his blooming MLS career, the fresh-faced rookie had no complaints about tired legs or lethargy.
"I'm happy," Rowe said with a smile. "I'm getting on the field, and that's what matters."
REVS NOTES: • Through their first 13 games, the Revolution have already matched their win total (5) from last season (5-16-13). The 2-0 victory also matched the Revolution's home win total (4) from 2011. The Revolution are currently 4-1-1 at home this season.
• With the 2-0 win, the Revolution are even on goal differential for the first time this season.
• The Revolution beat the Fire in the regular season for the first time since April 6, 2007 (a 3-1 victory at Gillette Stadium), snapping a 10-game regular-season winless streak (0-7-3) against Chicago.
• Matt Reis recorded his second shutout of the season in the 2-0 win.
• Former Revolution midfielder Mike Videira, who played 12 games for New England in 2009, was listed as one of the seven substitutes for the Fire, but did not see action.
• Benny Feilhaber collected his first goal and first assist of the 2012 season in Saturday's game.
• Rowe's assist on Feilhaber's 73rd minute goal was the first of his of MLS career.
• Saer Sene's three-game goal-scoring streak was snapped after he failed to find the back of the net against the Fire.
• Forward Jose Moreno replaced Blake Brettschneider up top in his first start for the Revolution since May against Colorado. But in the 77th minute, Brettschneider came on to spell Moreno, who hasn't played a full 90 this season.
• The Revolution were without defensive midfielders Clyde Simms and Ryan Guy on Saturday, forcing Heaps to call upon Shalrie Joseph to take more of a defending role paired next to Feilhaber in the middle of the park.
• The Revolution and Fire will meet two more times this season, with an Aug. 18 rematch at Toyota Park and a potential rubber match on Oct. 20 at Gillette Stadium.
Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.