MONTREAL – Once again the New England Revolution jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night at Stade Saputo. But this time, they turned the advantage into three points.
Kei Kamara scored after just 23 seconds – before Montreal ever touched the ball – and Kelyn Rowe added his first two goals since mid-June as the Revs rolled to a 3-1 victory, pushing them above the red line and into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with four games remaining.
It was a bit of vindication for the Revs, who’d seen a 2-0 lead slip away at Stade Saputo in July.
“Right now it’s that point in the season when there’s not many games left. When we get three points on the road, it’s big-time,” said Kamara, who has five goals against Montreal this season. “You want to get your three points all the time at home, and get as many points as you can get on the road, but if you can get all three on the road, it’s great.”
Kamara’s early goal set the tone, but it was Rowe who ran the Revolution’s attack. The fifth-year pro has been something of a utility man for New England this season – playing a variety of different positions – but he’s found his offensive form of late with two goals and three assists in the past three games.
On Saturday night it was his first-time service that prompted Kamara’s first-minute header, before he struck from distance in the 27th minute and followed up a half-clearance in the 59th minute.
“Kelyn’s been consistent all year and now you’re seeing some production,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “This is what we see from Kelyn quite a bit. When he gets forward and gets chances, he usually scores them in bunches, so we’re excited that hopefully he gets going right about now.”
“We’re getting a lot of guys scoring, and that’s what’s so good,” said Rowe, referencing New England’s six different goal scorers in their last three games. “The past three games we’ve been putting away goals and we’ve been putting away teams.”
It was Rowe’s second goal on Saturday night that was the dagger, as the Revs responded just nine minutes after Montreal had been handed a lifeline with a questionable penalty. Instead of letting the hosts back into the game, New England reacted positively and restored their two-goal lead.
“Obviously it’s a gut punch when you get a penalty and they come back and score and it’s 2-1, especially with the past game that we had (at Stade Saputo),” Rowe said. “For us to get one back and to keep pressing and keep creating chances is huge.”
With their second road win of the season under their belts the Revs will now look to make it three next weekend at MAPFRE Stadium, where they’ll visit Columbus Crew SC on Sunday night in a nationally-televised tilt (7 p.m. ET on FS1).
Kamara’s return to Columbus – for the first time since the mid-May trade that brought him to New England – will be a major storyline, but for the Revs, it’ll be all about solidifying their place above the red line in the Eastern Conference.
“Going back to Columbus is going to be fun,” said Kamara, who tied for the league lead with 22 goals as a Crew SC player last year. “Hopefully we can put some things together because it’s crunch time. Every game now is against teams in the East – most of them – so it’s crunch time. It’s about getting points.”