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Monday, January 30, 2012
MLS: Kelyn Rowe's great first impression

By Scott French

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.”

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