New England Soccer Today

Rowe, Barrett Making Minutes Count

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Remember recently when the Revolution looked devoid of quality attack-minded players? No need to check too far back in the memory reserves.

It was just on April 13th that a scoreless draw at Seattle gave New England – then 1-2-2, now 5-4-4 – a miserable return of one goal in its first five games.

Now, fast forward to Sunday’s spanking heard ‘round MLS – Diego Fagundez, new boy Juan Agudelo and a restored Saer Sene all looked like worthy starters, while substitutes Kelyn Rowe and Chad Barrett also impressed as the Revs’ put on a show, beating down the LA Galaxy, 5-0, in a win that has the league abuzz.

Rowe and Barrett both scored in second half stoppage time, assisting on each other’s goals, while Rowe also picked up another helper for playing Fagundez into the middle of the box on a one-two on the youngster’s 87th-minute goal.

“We have so many good attacking players on this squad now. Bringing guys into the game late, that can change a game, like Chad did and Kelyn Rowe,” said left back Chris Tierney, himself a service threat with his in-swingers from the left flank. “The depth of this squad is such a bonus this year. There are so many players that can hurt you, especially coming on fresh like that. I am not surprised that we scored five. It is always possible with the squad we have this year.”

The two points apiece were a welcome tonic for the slow starts that have plagued both players this season. Rowe – the 21-year-old former No. 3 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft – lost his starting spot in a lineup adjustment two weeks ago, but Barrett has faced an uphill battle just to make it onto the 18-man active roster.

“I was very happy and thankful that I got in today and to get the goal, my very first of the year, well, it was important to me. It wasn’t important that I scored against the Galaxy,” said Barrett, who talked fondly of his two-year stint with Los Angeles, the 28-year-old’s team prior to joining New England this past offseason.

“I’m glad that Chad got his goal (against) his former team,” said Rowe, who himself played at UCLA. “He came here and he hasn’t played much, and he came off the bench and scored a goal, then he gives me a perfect lay-off. He’s on cloud nine right now, he’s feeling great about himself, so we’re happy for him.”

Barrett has indeed played sparingly. Sunday was just his fourth MLS appearance and first since March 23. Barrett fell out of the lineup after a left hamstring strain in mid-April and still sits behind the talented Jerry Bengtson on the depth chart.

While Barrett lacks the ball skills, inventiveness or physical upside of some of his peers, his true striker’s mentality could make him a candidate to fill a role as a late game sparkplug. Coach Jay Heaps, for his part, made sure to file a positive review of Barrett’s brief six minutes, saying, “When Chad came in, he filled that role really well. He made two or three really good passes (and) worked hard.”

“I think more people need to put me on their fantasy teams,” beamed a swaggering Barrett after his first goal in an MLS match in close to 11 months.

Rowe had played in 520 of a possible 540 minutes in the six games before receiving his demotion on May 18 in a 2-0 victory at the Houston Dynamo.

“When I came in, obviously, it was a lot of open space and that’s just a player’s dream,” said Rowe, who subbed in on Sunday for Juan Toja in the 57th minute.

He saved his best for last, running onto Barrett’s lay-off in the waning moments of the LA game and fitting a side-footed shot through a miniscule window and in. Rowe is still working toward harnessing his apparent talents, but a nomination for MLS Goal of the Week (Cast your vote here) should give him an extra bounce in his step this week in training.

There’s also plenty reason to believe this past weekend’s late fireworks were more than a situational anomaly.

Both impressed last Tuesday (May 28) in the Revolution’s 5-1 victory over the Rochester Rhinos – which, it’s worth mentioning for the sake of transparency, is New England’s USL Pro affiliate club – in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Rowe had two goals and an assist, while Barrett scored late but also assisted on Rowe’s 23rd-minute opener. They both went the full 90 minutes and an indication whether they’ll remain Open Cup mainstays should come in the next round on Wednesday, June 12, when the Revs face the Red Bulls at Harvard University.

Barrett has indicated he isn’t above lobbying Heaps for more playing time.

“I’ve gone up to him a couple times and just told him pretty much ‘I’m ready,’” Barrett said. “I tried to show him in practice that I was ready, the Open Cup was important for me to get some minutes and show I can get it done on the field… he had the confidence in me today to put me in and I think I repaid him.”

If only the Revs didn’t have so many quality attack-minded players.

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