New England Soccer Today

A Fortuitous Breakthrough

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For the first goal, the Revolution were willing to take it anyway it came.

After going the first three games without a goal, New England found the back of the net for the first time of the 2015 season in the 21st minute off a deflection.

A steal from Daigo Kobayashi near midfield quickly put New England on the attack. Kobayashi found Lee Nguyen alone the right flank, who took the ball wide. Nguyen then found Rowe near the corner of the box and the fourth-year midfielder unleashed a shot.

The ball took a deflection off the head of San Jose defender Shaun Francis, giving goalie David Bingham no chance as the ball flew into the net.

It wasn’t a perfect strike or set up play by any means, but they all count the same.

“I knew it was going to be on target, that was my goal,” Rowe said. “I was at the top of the 18 on the right side, put that ball on target. You’ve got Charlie, you got Juan, you got Lee, you have other guys pouncing on the ball. It was one of those if it goes in it goes in but if not we’re going to get a good rebound and have a good chance there.”

It was a welcome sight for New England, who were held without a goal through the first 290 minutes of the season despite legitimate scoring chances over the past two games.

“We got a fortunate deflection but you take it anyway you can for the first one,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “We were excited with our first half and the way we went out in the first half and even the start of the second. But unfortunately it became a real game and it was a good job to hold on. It probably shouldn’t have been as close but it was.”

Rowe finished with a career-high seven shots, five of them on target — all of them coming in a dominant first half from New England.

“It was a little bit of both [opportunity and wanting to get the first goal],” Rowe said of his chances. “Obviously everyone wants to get the first goal and once we did, we created so many chances after that.”

As New England continued its pressure, it was Rowe that doubled the Revolution’s lead. This time, there was no lucky deflection needed.

Off a set piece on the left flank near the corner of the 18, left back Chris Tierney whipped in a cross that right back Darrius Barnes dove onto to get a piece of. He was able to knock the ball down with his head and Rowe latched onto the bouncing ball and put it in.

“It’s one of those where you gotta be aware,” Rowe said. “You’re inside the box on a free kick, anything can happen. Darrius is a guy that’s always going to get his head on the ball. For me, I was going to the near post and I turned around and it was there. It was one of those you have to put in the back of the net.”

“It was something we worked on just getting across the box,” Barnes added. “Set pieces are something we want to get better at. I just took it upon myself to get in the mix and get something on frame. I asked Kelyn if it was going in and he said no so I’ll give it to him.”

In total, New England finished with 20 attempts on goal – 14 of which came in the first half – and had eight shots on target. Breaking the scoreless drought is something Rowe believes elevates the team’s confidence.

“I think it picks it up a little bit,” Rowe said. “It’s not easy going three games without a goal and only having one point. Especially at home its good to find those goals. It’s good to play well and create those chances. I think going forward the confidence is going to be higher and you’ll find goals from other guys as well.”

New England will look to add to its goal total next Saturday with a trip to Colorado to take on the Rapids.

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