New England Soccer Today

Okoli, Rowe Homecomings Spoiled

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

It’s safe to say that Sunday’s sound defeat at CenturyLink Field wasn’t the kind of homecoming that Revolution players – and Federal Way, Wash. natives – Sean Okoli and Kelyn Rowe had in mind leading up to the contest.

For Rowe, whose last appearance in Seattle as a member of the visiting side came in 2013, the return was a mixed bag for him personally. While he nearly put the Revolution on the board in the 40th minute on a screaming shot, ex-Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey stole the show with two goals for the hosts.

“It’s great, obviously,” Rowe told the media about playing in his home state. “It wasn’t the homecoming I wanted.”

Rowe got the start on the left side of the midfield, and went the full 90 before a host of friends and family, many of whom bought a number of tickets well in advance of the occasion.

During the course of Rowe’s night, he completed 78.1 percent of his passes, and launched a team-high six crosses in the hopes of unlocking the Sounders’ defensive front. Of course, the biggest moment for Rowe was the shot that forced Stefan Frei to make a spectacular save.

Okoli, who was competing with the likes of Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo for minutes up top during the preseason, not only made the gameday roster, but also saw the pitch as a 67th minute substitute. With the Sounders comfortable to sit back holding a three-goal advantage late, the 21-year-old striker only collected five passes in 22 minutes of action.

“I thought they moved pretty well, credit to them,” Rowe said of Seattle’s performance. “It’s the first game of the year, and there are still some little quirks we need to figure out.”

Although the local kids couldn’t steer the Revolution to victory, Rowe was happy to have the chance to perform in front of a number of familiar faces.

“It’s always nice to play in front of family and friends who can’t make it out to Boston because it’s a far trip,” Rowe said. “People I have coached growing up and kids that I played with, it’s fun to do.”

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