New England Soccer Today

Rowe Optimistic About Offense

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

It’s not terribly difficult to be optimistic at a time of the year when every team is on equal footing. So forgive Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe for looking ahead to the regular season through rose-colored lenses.

The Revolution offense generated plenty of buzz during their final three preseason games as the front four regularly tested opposing backlines using the same two-striker formation seen toward the end of last year.

With all of its key attackers all appearing to be in midseason form over the last two weeks, Rowe believes big things are in store for the offense in 2017.

“Going in from last year, we had, I think the last 11 or 12 games, [where] we moved into that diamond formation,” Rowe told the media on Saturday. “We had Kei [Kamara] and Lee [Nguyen] and Juan [Agudelo] kind of interchanging within that. Throw Teal [Bunbury] in the mix there as well. Those guys can interchange and score goals and make things happen.”

The real-time mixing and matching has long been a Revolution hallmark under coach Jay Heaps. Nearly every player on the attacking corps can play multiple positions, which makes them especially dangerous in transition.

“You add Diego [Fagundez], you add myself and Scott Caldwell who can play balls in, it just creates so much,” Rowe said. “Can we create and finish? That’s our problem, and if we can sort that out, going forward I think we’re going to have a lot of goals for us.”

Indeed, for all the promise shown over the years, consistency has been an elusive creature for the team’s talented attack. Rowe and Fagundez registered banner years in 2013, but have struggled to replicate it since. Agudelo’s battled injuries over the course of his career while Kamara didn’t become a major part of the offense until late in the season last year.

Perhaps the most consistent player of the bunch is Nguyen, a player who can score and assist with equal skill. However, his versatility has forced him to take on a myriad of attacking roles, and as such, has encountered initial struggles when his responsibilities are shifted.

That said, Heaps knows that when the opportunities do arise – just as they did during the latter half of the winter – his club has no qualms about crashing the goal. It’s just a matter of execution.

“As long as we continue to create chances, they’re going to get their goals,” Heaps told the media on Saturday. “I thought it was a really good one [Saturday] in terms of how we had chances. I think we could’ve been better in the first half in getting that chemistry a little bit tighter, a little bit better, but second half it started to come around and we created a lot more chances.”

Rowe is also cognizant of what the Revolution are capable of when the offense finds its rhythm. But he also knows that it’s all for naught unless it translates on the scoresheet.

“We create a lot of chances,” Heaps said. “We always have in past years. Can we finish them now? Can we get in the habit of finishing these goals? I know they’re not easy, but can we put them away?”

2 Comments

  1. Rick Sewall

    February 28, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    The Revs are good at scoring goals from within the penalty area, but weak at scoring from outside – a glaring weakness.This makes it easier for opposing teams to defend against them by packing the area with defenders. With Jermaine Jones’ departure the Revs lost their only player who was a real threat from long distance .

    An ability to shoot (and perhaps score) from outside the area would increase their chances of doing so from inside the area because it would obviously stretch opposing defenses. This, in itself ,is reason enough to learn how.

    It says here that full- time professionals should be able to shoot effectively from 35 or 40 yards. The Revs inability to do this could hurt the them again this year. It sure did last year.

  2. J metsch

    March 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    KeLyn has a right to be optimistic. He shows up. How do you get others to do that? Years ago, we had strong teams where players stepped up. Ralston, Twellman, Joseph…they worked it. Coach?

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