FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kelyn Rowe knew he didn’t have 90 minutes to give on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire. The Revolution rookie had seen 25 minutes off the bench last weekend against D.C. United before playing the entire match – 120 minutes – as New England fell to the Harrisburg City Islanders in a penalty shootout in a U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday.
Luckily, Rowe needed only a few minutes to make an impact in the Revolution’s 2-0 win over the Fire. The 20-year-old midfielder entered the fray in the 64th minute and within 10 minutes he’d helped decide the match, scoring the eventual game-winning goal in the 69th minute before assisting on Benny Feilhaber’s insurance goal four minutes later.
It was a welcome capper to a hectic week for Rowe, who scored in extra time of the Open Cup loss but saw his penalty kick in the shootout slam off the crossbar.
“I was definitely tired, but (head coach) Jay (Heaps) and his staff have been great this week,” said Rowe. “We had a long bus ride home on [Tuesday]. Thursday, Friday, they took it real light and made sure we got massages, ice baths and we took care of our bodies.”
“Kelyn wanted to play the next day and the next day and the next day (after the Open Cup game),” said Heaps. “Kelyn is all go and you love that about him because there’s no governor around him … Fernando (Cardenas) played a lot of minutes, too. He played a lot of minutes in D.C. and lots of minutes on Tuesday night. So unfortunately Fernando had a great game, but he started running out of steam. I knew that when Kelyn went in, he would add a spark.”
Rowe did just that, almost scoring with his first touch when Saer Sène sent him on a breakaway in the 65th minute. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson charged off his line to deny Rowe on that occasion, but the rookie needed only a few more minutes to make his mark and help lift the Revs to their fourth home victory in six attempts.
“He’s been pushing hard lately,” Heaps said of Rowe. “I think you saw when he came into the game, there was a different buzz about him. He almost scored the first time. It was a great run … Then the first and second goals were beautiful from Kelyn. He’s smart, he’s played quickly. We like getting him in those situations where he can be a dynamic attacker for us.”