BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – New England coach Jay Heaps highlighted the introduction of Kelyn Rowe as the turning point in the Revolution's 1-0 victory over Chicago on Saturday night.
Rowe replaced rookie Donnie Smith after 53 minutes and sparked his side to life in time to procure the winner nine minutes later.
“I think Kelyn came in and changed the game,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “He came in and he showed a little bit of class in terms of receiving the ball, finding the gaps and, of course, setting up the goal.”
The decisive sequence started after Chicago failed to clear and Juan Toja collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Toja dropped the ball back for Rowe to lob his service toward the back post. Jerry Bengtson glided past the static Fire back line and nodded home the winner after 62 minutes.
“He's good like that,” Heaps said about Rowe. “He can see the field. He knows where he is. We preach, get the ball in the box. We know Jerry likes to score goals like that.”
Rowe – a potential starter in midfield – provided that contribution off the bench after battling through tendonitis in his left knee this week. He pledged to do what he could to help his team in the buildup to the match and received a vote of confidence when Heaps named him in the travel party for the date at Toyota Park.
As he pondered his influential role off the bench, Rowe said he thought he managed to make an impact on a game that needed a bit of something special in order to decide it.
“It's my job, whether I play 20 minutes or 90 minutes, to make an impact and do something for the team,” Rowe said.