New England Soccer Today

Rowe Rallies Revs

Third overall pick Kelyn Rowe scored a pair of goals late to give the Revolution a 2-0 win over New York in both squads’ second match of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup Saturday night.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who tallied an assist in Wednesday’s game, broke a scoreless tie in the 77th minute and added another in the 84th minute to rescue New England from an otherwise underwhelming offensive performance against a reserve-laden Red Bull squad at Kino Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Revolution defense chipped in with a solid performance in front of Matt Reis, who went the full 90.

Using the preseason slate to discover more about his squad, rookie Revolution head coach Jay Heaps went with an entirely new forward pairing than the one seen at the start of Wednesday’s game against Los Angeles. Instead of going with Saer Sene and Blake Brettschneider up top, Heaps opted for trialist Bjorn Runstrom and Fernando Cardenas as his starting forwards.

The move nearly paid dividends early when Rowe played a well-timed ball ahead to Cardenas, who ran right into the area before a Red Bull defender came in on the tackle and took the ball off of the Colombian’s foot in the first minute.

From there, however, the Revolution struggled. Another opportunity arrived in the 14th when Rowe chased down a long ball into the box, before New York keeper Jeremy Vuolo nudged the rookie out of the way. Rowe immediately appealed to referee Tyler Ploeger for a penalty, but it was in vain as a goal kick was given to the Red Bulls instead.

Former Revolution trialist Jose Angulo nearly netted one against his old club when he went into the box alone before a Darrius Barnes slide tackle snuffed it out in the 25th minute.

With the score knotted at zero at the interval, Heaps revamped his front line. Sene and Rick Smith, who made his Desert Diamond Cup debut, were featured up top, as Heaps hoped to inject life into the stagnant attack.

Despite the changes, it was Rowe who single-handedly took the reins and steered the attack toward the net. In the 59th minute, he eluded the New York back line and put a shot on frame that Vuolo corralled to keep it scoreless.

With 15 minutes remaining, the Revolution attack finally awakened. Sene sent a shot that banged off the post in the 75th minute to put the Red Bulls on notice that New England had no intention of going quietly into the night.

After knocking on the door all night, Rowe finally barrelled through in the 77th minute. After Sene was dispossessed inside the box, the rookie followed up and buried it to give the Revolution the lead.

With the Red Bulls on their back heels, Sene received a through ball from Benny Feilhaber that Vuolo had to race off his line to smother in the 80th minute. Seconds later, Rowe sent another shot that had its sights set on the back of the net before it spun wide of the far post.

With the Revolution attack firing on all cylinders, Rowe capitalized again in the 84th minute. Sene took another ball into the box before deferring to Rowe, who took it, then fired it into the upper 90 to double the lead.

Meanwhile, the Revolution defense, which experienced a few collective hiccups during the 3-2 win against L.A. on Wednesday, tightened up and kept the Red Bulls quiet for much of the night. Barnes went the full 90 while central midfielder-turned-center back Stephen McCarthy battled to keep the New York attack at bay.

Heaps used 16 players during Saturday night’s contest after 24 players saw the field on Wednesday.

With the win, the Revolution moved to the top of the Cup standings with a 2-0-0 record. New England returns to action on Wednesday night against Real Salt Lake at 8:00pm ET for the final round of the preseason tournament before the championship and consolation games on Mar. 3.

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