MLS: Kelyn Rowe's great first impression

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
4:16
PM PT

The New England Revolution thought so much of Kelyn Rowe, they thought they'd won the SuperDraft when they snagged him with the No. 3 overall selection earlier this month.

Maybe they did.

Rowe, who signed a Generation adidas contract with MLS after his sophomore season at UCLA, enjoyed a sensational debut in the Revs' preseason opener Saturday night in Casa Grande, Ariz. His cross set up Sainey Nyassi's 38th-minute goal to start a 2-1 victory over Premier Development League side FC Tucson.

Rowe's service from the flank was outstanding all game, and the opportunity to play -- in two 35-minute periods that opened the 115-minute game -- provided a real introduction to the MLS game.

“It was definitely hard,” Rowe, who started the match, told the league's website. “We’re playing with a bunch of new guys, we haven’t played together that much, this is the first time the starting lineup played together. So the first 35, we just kind of got used to each other, found spacing in between, and you saw it work together in the second half. I’ve been working on my crossing, and definitely it’s been something I’ve showed that I can do well here.”

Rowe, from Federal Way, Wash., was a third-team All-American as a freshman and Pacific 12 Conference MVP as a sophomore at UCLA. He followed the consensus top two in the draft -- Duke defender Andrew Wenger, the Hermann Trophy winner, went to Toronto FC and Akron forward Darren Mattocks to Vancouver -- and joined the Revolution's preparations after a trip with the U.S. under-23 national team to Costa Rica.

He figures to play a role when the U-23s enter CONCACAF's qualifying tournament for the London Olympics in March and could be one of the breakout stars in a relatively deep rookie class. First-year Revs coach Jay Heaps expects him to contribute quickly.

“In terms of his soccer IQ, Kelyn is very mature,” Heaps told New England Soccer News. “He's adapting to the speed of the game. Obviously, it’s different than in college. He has a sense of the speed, and he is going to get there. There's no question about it, he'll be an impact player this season.”

ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...

  • New York signed former MLS Best XI defender Wilman Conde after sending allocation money to Chicago to acquire his league rights. Conde, 29, played for the Fire from 2007 through 2010 and was with Mexican club Atlas last year.
  • Portland signed former Rangers striker Kris Boyd, the Scottish Premier League's all-time goals leader (with 164 in 295 games). Boyd, 28, who last week turned down an offer from Houston, played last year with Nottingham Forest on loan from Middlesbrough in England and in Turkey with Eskisehirspor, terminating his three-year contract last month and claiming he had not been paid since joining the club in August.
  • Portland's new Colombian forward, Jose Adolfo Valencia, has missed a week of training after medical exams raised concerns.
  • Philadelphia has parted ways with All-Star goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who “for family reasons” is returning home to Colombia to play for Deportivo Cali, his first pro club.
  • San Jose signed Sercan Güvenisik, 31, a German-born Turkish striker who has played in Germany's second and third divisions and paid his way for a weeklong trial with the Quakes last June. He most recently played for third-division SC Preussen Münster.

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