FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kelyn Rowe traveled to PPL Park with the New England Revolution last weekend hoping that the tightness in his right hamstring would subside in time for him to feature against the Philadelphia Union. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder dressed for the match and was listed on the Revolution’s 18-man game day roster, but when Rowe still felt a bit of tightness while warming up at halftime, the decision was made to keep him on the bench.
At the root of that decision was the knowledge that 32 games still remain in the regular season, and while the Revs would’ve loved to have had Rowe’s services at PPL Park, it ultimately wasn’t worth the risk of potentially suffering a more serious injury.
“It was precautionary,” Rowe said before participating in training on Wednesday morning. “I thought it was smart to keep me out. It’s still early in the season. (Head coach) Jay (Heaps) made a decision to keep me out and I’m hoping to be back this week.”
If all goes according to plan, Rowe will be available to return for Saturday afternoon’s home opener against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. No one’s more anxious for that to be the case than Rowe, who didn’t particularly enjoy being reduced to the role of bystander last weekend.
“Any athlete will tell you, just watching – whether it be from home or on the bench – is one of the hardest things to do,” said Rowe. “You want to be out there every time, every minute.”
Rowe is not only eager to get back on the field, but also to help the Revs get back on track after a difficult start to the season. New England has kicked off the 2014 campaign with back-to-back road losses at a pair of difficult venues, making Saturday’s return to Gillette Stadium all the more vital.
“Everyone’s excited to play at home,” Rowe said. “It’s the home opener and we need something to turn around. I think that’s just coming back here, playing at Gillette and playing for our fans. Hopefully it changes.”