FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Each time Kelyn Rowe tumbled to the turf in Sunday’s match against Seattle, he popped right back up with a smile on his face, a visage summing up the New England Revolution midfielder’s thoughts on finally being able to return to the pitch.
After 611 minutes, Rowe was back for the Revs, subbed on in the 70th minute of their 5-0 whitewashing of the Sounders, and loving every minute of it.
“It felt good,” Rowe told reporters following the match. “Getting 20 minutes in there just running around, get a little bit of game fitness, get back in the flow.
“I’m a little tired. The fitness needs to be there. I was out 6-7 weeks … not that I’m counting, but seven weeks and one day.”
Rowe missed the Revs last six matches with a left hamstring strain suffered just one week after returning from a right hamstring injury.
The seven week process in returning was made easier by the fact that it was still early in the season and the club did not want or need to rush him back, especially as New England went on a 4-1-1 run.
“It’s great having Kelyn,” Diego Fagundez said. “Every day, he comes up to the field to train and does everything he can to show off and try and make the team. That’s what we’re looking for.”
“I had to stay with the team [during training], but a little bit off to the side,” Rowe said of his recovery process. “The team's been doing great, I had to work my way back into the lineup. As much as I was chomping at the bit, I had to calm myself down as I was like a kid in the candy store.”
That kid was unleashed on Sunday and, as usual, was a pinball of activity, shaking two defenders and drawing a yellow on Gonzalo Pineda in the 73rd minute and getting off two shots, one wide and one from about 10-yards out that was deflected away.
“It’s been a long wait,” said Rowe. “It’s a gradual process.”