FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Creating space starts with movement. Finding the gaps is easier when you try to float your way into them. Pass and move, as the Amsterdam- and Barcelona-based adherents to the discipline might say.
New England midfielder Kelyn Rowe and his teammates embrace those fundamental principles, even if they apply them a bit differently. They combine neatly in midfield to create openings. Sometimes, those avenues appear behind the defense or out in the wide areas. Lately, they crop up between the opposing lines.
Rowe's recent outburst – five goals in the past five matches – reflects his ability to adjust to the landscape in front of him and take advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
“They've been dropping off lately,” Rowe told MLSsoccer.com. “I've found a lot of gaps. I have gotten two lucky deflections that have helped me get in, but I'll take the goals.”
Revolution coach Jay Heaps preached about the need for more goals from midfield this season before this campaign started. Depending on how you count Diego Fagundez in his hybrid role on either flank, he either benefits from a surplus or muddles along like most other teams. As any coach would say, there's always room for more.
Rowe's emergence as one of those desired goal-scoring threats took a bit of time – he scored just two goals in 22 appearances before this prolific spell – without constituting much of a surprise in the end.
“This is the Kelyn Rowe we see most of the time in training,” Heaps said. “I think you're seeing glimpses in the game. Those finishes, for me, are a bonus. The work he does, the competitive nature he brings every day is spot on.”
The diligence shows on the field now. Rowe combines ably with Scott Caldwell and Lee Nguyen in the middle of the park, Fagundez and the other selected attacking player on the other flank, with Juan Agudelo or Dimitry Imbongo at the top. He feeds off the movement of his teammates and uses the space created to exert a greater impact on the game.
Although Rowe reaps most of the benefits in front of goal right now, he understands he owes a portion of his individual success to the collective work of his teammates.
“We've done a lot of it,” Rowe said. “If one player gets it off, we're looking for the next pass rather than just waiting. I think it's a big key and it creates a lot of holes in defenses.”
Those openings matter only so much without the anticipation required to fill them and the potency to exploit. Rowe – and his teammates, for that matter – continue to reap the benefits from their desire to ally those qualities with their philosophical approach to produce the intended results.