TUCSON, Ariz. — If anyone was wondering whether Keyln Rowe’s particular brand of skillful play would fit in with the often-direct New England Revolution, no need to wonder anymore.
On Saturday, the No. 3 overall in last month’s SuperDraft notched both goals in the Revs’ 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in the Desert Diamond Cup. They were his third and fourth goals in five preseason matches. And he doesn’t seem ready to slow down anytime soon.
“It’s definitely something I’d like to keep up, and the team hopes so, as well,” Rowe said after the match. “We want to win, and it’s helping us right now, so as much as I can help the team, I’m happy to do it – whether it be a goal, an assist, even just keeping the ball, I’ll do it.”
The Revolution have won both their matches down here in the desert. They seem like a very different team from the one that missed the playoffs the last two seasons — an attacking, creative, stylish side.
“We want to go forward – it’s one of the things we’re good at,” Rowe said. “Our midfield is very strong, our forwards are starting to get strong. Benny [Feilhaber] Shalrie [Joseph], even Clyde Simms, myself and the forwards are definitely wanting to go forward and make some chances, and you’ve seen it the past two games when we’ve gotten those chances.”
Head coach Jay Heaps’ transformation of the Revolution has been quick, and selecting Rowe in the draft was a big catalyst for possible success. Playing opposite Feilhaber, the Revs now have two deft dribblers who can create chances for themselves and others. Rowe, despite his age, provides Heaps with additional flexibility when choosing his lineup.
“[Rowe] is very smart; he’s a soccer player,” Heaps said. “He can play anywhere in the midfield and I wouldn’t hesitate playing him anywhere.”
Will it pay off when the Revs begin the season, away to San Jose on March 10? That remains to be seen, but there are good signs.
“We’re starting to rise up and do very well and you can see it in the performance,” Rowe said.
The New England Revolution next face Real salt Lake on Wednesday at 8 pm ET. Watch the live stream on MLSsoccer.com Channel 1.