New England Soccer Today

Rowe in a Different Role

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As far as Kelyn Rowe is concerned, it doesn’t matter where he is on the field when the whistle blows so long as he’s there. Such is the life of one of the Revolution’s most versatile players.

For the first time in his six-year pro career, the attack-minded midfielder was slotted at left back in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Dynamo. But trepidation was the last thing on Rowe’s mind against Houston’s vaunted attack.

“We worked on it last year,” Rowe said in reference to his cameos at right back last year. “We worked on it this week throughout the whole week. I credit Josh (Smith), and Toni (Delamea) because they shut down Torres (almost) every time he got the ball.”

Plugging Rowe at a spot normally reserved for Chris Tierney may have raised a few eyebrows among the Foxboro faithful. After all, the veteran left back was healthy and presumably ready to prove himself after last weekend’s performance in Portland.

But Revolution coach Jay Heaps opted to play for the matchup his team faced against a Dynamo side that was going to throw numbers forward.

“He adds a lot physically, so he’s going to win his individual battles,” Heaps said. “We knew there was going to be a lot of 1-v-1 defending, and Kelyn is one of the best. He doesn’t get enough credit for it but he’s a good 1-v-1 defender, especially when there’s a lot of physicality involved.”

After a listless first half that featured few scoring opportunities, Heaps felt Rowe made his biggest impact in the second half.

“They leave those three high and let you come and play,” Heaps said. “So I thought Kelyn was going to get a lot of the ball, and he did in the second half.”

Rowe collected four clearances and made two interceptions against a capable Houston attack on Saturday, and even found a moment to revert to his attacking disposition to aid his team’s cause.

In the 72nd minute, he sent a cross into the box that that spilled out of Tyler Deric’s hands and right into the path of Juan Agudelo. A split-second later, the ball was in the back of the net.

Despite the late foray into the attacking third made by possible by the 68th minute introduction of Je-Vaughn Watson at left back, the 25-year-old midfielder-turned-fullback spoke about his willingness to play wherever, whenever.

“As long as I’m on the field, I’m happy,” Rowe said. “So if I can play up front, if I can play in the midfield, if I can play in the back, it doesn’t matter. If I’m still out on the field, then it means I still have a career.”

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