New England midfielder Kelyn Rowe won't get the chance to return to his native Washington to play in front of family and friends at Seattle's CenturyLink Field this season.
But the rookie did the next-best thing to mark a quasi-homecoming – his first match in Southern California since leaving UCLA – in style with his first MLS goal in Saturday's 3-1 victory over LA Galaxy.
WATCH: Rowe delivers dagger at LA Galaxy
“I went to college two years, well, I guess a year-and-quarter [here at UCLA], but it was great to play in front of family and friends,” Rowe told reporters after the match. “To get that first goal in front of those people, it’s really fun.”
Similar adjectives apply to the night as a whole as the Revs broke their West Coast duck with a first win in Pacific Time since 2009. Rowe's opening tally – a persistent finish at the second time of asking – paved the way for the energetic visitors to emerge from the Home Depot Center with an unexpected victory.
“We got it back defensively,” Rowe said of his opener. “Shalrie Joseph, great with his left foot, [hit the ball] all the way across. I just tried to put it on frame and luckily it bounced right back to me and I put it in.”
Rowe's goal set the tone for an excellent evening for the Revs and showed why Revolution coach Jay Heaps has placed so much faith in him so early in his career. Heaps said the Generation adidas starlet has shined since making the leap from college to the pros and shared his growth with his family and friends on Saturday night.
“Kelyn has been excellent for us,” Heaps said on Saturday. “And tonight, getting in front of his home crowd – his family, I think his family was here, but all of his college friends [were here], for sure – it was good for him. He wanted to impress and he wanted to get a goal. You could see he was real excited for it.”