Tactical shift into a central midfield role has Kelyn Rowe’s confidence soaring

Midfielder exploded for three goals, three assists last week

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Confidence breeds success. Or is it success breeds confidence?

In truth, it’s a bit of both, and one player who knows that as well as anyone right now is Kelyn Rowe.

Rowe is coming off a stellar week in which he racked up three goals and three assists in just 123 minutes of action between last Tuesday’s 5-1 U.S. Open Cup victory over the Rochester Rhinos and Sunday’s 5-0 triumph over the LA Galaxy. With a pair of helpers against the defending champs, Rowe pulled into a tie with Sporting Kansas City and U.S. National Team midfielder Graham Zusi for the league lead in assists (5).

But it’s the goals which Rowe believes have his confidence soaring. The assists have been flowing steadily for the second-year midfielder, but his first goal of 2013 didn’t arrive until last week in Rochester, and since then, he hasn’t stopped.

“I think my confidence is up, definitely, because I got those goals finally,” Rowe said. “I’d been searching for them and I’ve been pretty close. As an attacking midfielder, you want to score goals, but you also want to be able to set them up. I was setting them up, and now I’m finally starting to score.”

Rowe has been energized by a recent tactical shift which moved him from a wide midfield position into the center of the Revolution’s 4-1-4-1 formation. After amassing just one assist in his first six appearances this season, Rowe has upped those totals to one goal and four assists in six appearances since the switch.

Increased freedom is the key for Rowe, who felt a bit limited playing out wide. Playing centrally in New England’s fluid setup, the 21-year-old has the liberty to roam as each attack unfolds.

“I think [playing centrally] maximizes a lot because on the wing I was kind of (playing) in two different directions; it was up and back,” said Rowe. “Now in the midfield, I can go any which way and in the center I’m very confident and very comfortable.

“It’s easier to find the ball. The combination between Lee (Nguyen), myself, Scotty (Caldwell), Juan Toja and anyone coming into that spot, we have a great connection. I think those triangles are working really well.”

Rowe also credits his recent success to better preparation – both on and off the field – as he’s implemented lessons learned from last year’s arduous rookie season. From eating healthier to taking better care of his body, Rowe is now equipped to properly deal with the rigors of a 34-game schedule.

And the better Rowe is equipped, the better he performs and the better the team becomes. And for Rowe, that’s what matters.

“It’s corny and it’s cliché, but as long as the team is winning, we’re happy,” he said. “But I’m definitely finding confidence in my game and hoping that it carries on.”