FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The circumstances of Sunday night’s comprehensive victory over Seattle Sounders FC provided a perfect environment for Kelyn Rowe’s long-awaited return to the field.
With the result beyond doubt as the Revs carried a comfortable 5-0 lead, Rowe took the field in the 70th minute to mark his first action since the March 22 home opener against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The atmosphere at that stage of the proceedings was understandably less intense, allowing Rowe to ease his way back into game action after missing the past six games with a left hamstring strain.
“I came in at 5-0, so I didn’t have much to do,” Rowe said with a laugh. “I think the guys did everything beforehand, so that was nice.
“I think getting 20 minutes in there just running around, getting a little bit of game fitness, getting back in the flow when I didn’t really have to change the game too much, it’s really nice to do that.”
Rowe admitted to being “a little tired” at the final whistle after such a lengthy layoff, adding that his return to full fitness will be a gradual process. Not only will Rowe be working to regain that fitness in the coming weeks, he’ll also be fighting to break his way back into a lineup which has recently churned out results.
“It’s been a long wait and the team’s been winning, so it’s not like I was going to jump back in the lineup right away,” Rowe said, referencing the Revolution’s 4-0-1 run through the past five games. “The team’s been doing great. I have to work my way back into the lineup, as well as (regain my) fitness.”
In an indirect way, New England’s strong run of form actually aided Rowe in his recovery process. While the young playmaker wanted to rush himself back as quickly as possible, the Revolution’s success while he was sidelined allowed him to relax and approach his rehab in a sensible manner.
“Jay (Heaps) and the coaching staff, and the training staff, and even the guys really have been chirping in my ear: ‘Take it easy, we’re doing okay. We want you for the long run, not for the next week or two,’” Rowe said. “So for me, as much as I was champing at the bit, I had to calm myself down because I was like a kid in a candy store.”