FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said he didn't expect to see Kelyn Rowe suspended for his challenge on goalkeeper Ryan Meara in the Revolution's 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night.
Rowe will miss Saturday's match against Toronto FC and pay an undisclosed fine after the MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled on Tuesday that the incident in question – a sequence in which the rookie midfielder attempted to chase down the ball inside the New York penalty area and struck Meara in the head with his shin – constituted “a reckless challenge that endangered the safety of his opponent.”
WATCH: Kelyn Rowe fouls Ryan Meara
“I was surprised to see that it was going to be reviewed and I was shocked to see that he was suspended,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com “I'm disappointed with the decision.”
The ruling comes less than two weeks after Rowe sustained a concussion in a clash with Seattle Sounders fullback Leo González on June 30. González was not sanctioned for the challenge.
“When you're playing out there, the inconsistency that you feel comes with the Disciplinary Committee later, it affects the way you play sometimes,” Heaps said. “We know why the Disciplinary Committee is in there and we know why they review plays. Sometimes, when the decision is made, you just put your arms up and say, 'Why?'”
The verdict will leave Rowe on the sidelines for the first game of a hectic stretch including three matches in eight days. Heaps said his side will miss Rowe's significant work rate on the right side of the field against the Reds.
“We like Kelyn to be in the fold,” Heaps said. “In the [New York] game, he worked tirelessly, up and down, up and down. The play it came on – and the reason I think we were so shocked about the decision – it was an attacking play. It was a goalscoring opportunity. Kelyn is trying to get there and, at the last second, the goalkeeper comes out.
"Not having Kelyn for a game like that is going to be hard. It's a difficult decision not to have him.”