Kelyn Rowe -- Looks Between Defenders

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – On Sunday morning, a text message from Bruce Arena popped up on Jay Heaps’ phone.


Its contents? Roughly 12 hours after scoring his first goal with the US national team – in a 3-0 win over Nicaragua in the Gold Cup’s group stage – Kelyn Rowe would be heading back to his club team, the New England Revolution.


Heaps didn’t request that Rowe return from his first-ever national team camp, so the news was unexpected all around. In any account, the midfielder is back home in Boston and hoping to jolt the Revs out of a four-game losing streak that’s pushed them down to 10th place in the Eastern Conference.


“We’re disappointed for Kelyn, but as a group now that he’s back and we have almost a full week of training with him, he’s able to provide a spark for us, not just on the field but off the field,” Heaps said. “Guys feel so confident with him, he works so hard, and he’s really an excellent player for us. We missed him dearly, those four games he was gone.”


During Rowe’s absence, New England’s offense took a hit, getting shutout 3-0 at the Philadelphia Union in league play and falling 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls in the Open Cup’s quarterfinal round.


Now, with the 25-year-old midfielder back in camp, New England’s hoping Rowe will provide a spark in back-to-back home games against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE) and Philadelphia next weekend.


“I expect to be a boost in that sense as well,” Rowe said. “We have two games at home here coming and we need to get results with both. We’re not in a good spot in the table and it needs to change. We can’t change our season in one or two games, but it can definitely help us.”


Although Rowe is yet to score for New England in 2017, he returns from the Gold Cup brimming with confidence after scoring against Nicaragua and assisting Dom Dwyer’s strike against Panama. He feels, however, that his work is far from done.


Arena told Rowe that if he continues to play well, more call-ups are in his future. And, more specifically, Arena explained what the first-time USMNT call-up needs to improve.


“It’s the little touches here and there, making sure I keep the ball, use my body to protect the ball, defensively make sure I’m on the right side of the guy, when I’m pressing and when I’m not, when to go to ground and when not to go to ground,” Rowe said. “There’s a couple things I need to round out my game with, and hopefully I can do that here in New England.”


Amidst that charge, Rowe hopes to play in the “middle of the park,” a spot he’s seldom played for New England this season. Heaps often lines Rowe up out wide and even at outside back, though he’s played centrally more in late spring and early summer. During his recent spell with the national team, Rowe played out wide in different variations of a 4-2-3-1 formation.


Wherever he ultimately stakes his claim, a confident Rowe is only a positive for New England.


“It’s always a fun experience when you go out there and get to represent your country, but now we need all the help possible from Kelyn to win these games,” said Revs attacker Diego Fagundez. “We have almost everybody here, and it’s a good thing because we can mix up the lineups and see what we can do and hopefully get results.”