For our second player profile we look to the midfield, a certain trouble spot for New England in recent years. After catching a little of the College Cup this past weekend, I've got a new midfield crush. We head out west, to perennial powerhouse UCLA, and take a look at their dynamic midfielder, Kelyn Rowe, recently named Pac-12 Player of the Year!
If there is one area most Revolution fans would point to as a trouble spot last season, it was the lack of creativity and imagination in the midfield. There's no denying that there is some talent up top for New England, but the biggest problem was getting the forwards the proper service up top, and a talented midfielder like Rowe could help immensely.
First, the negatives: Rowe has yet to declare for the draft, but most are saying that it is because the Bruins are still alive in the NCAA Tournament (UCLA advanced to the College Cup, the Final Four of College Soccer). As far as his play, I'd have to say what would concern me most, is an apparent lack of desire to play overly physical. Rowe is a lot of flair, a lot of skill, but in the rough-and-tumble world of the overly-physical MLS, I worry that Rowe may not find the open space he needs.
The positives? Well, where to begin? Rowe is strong with both feet, creates problems with his speed, and his field vision is outstanding. Rowe was tied for assists in the conference with 8, and added 5 goals as well. There's no denying New England could use a little creative flow in the midfield, and with a speedy, smart player like Rowe added to the mix, it could only help.
My favorite part of Kelyn Rowe? He's young, but already incredibly seasoned. Multiple camps and trips with the USMNT U-20 side (where he played a little forward also), and you can also add trips to Europe to train to his long resume as well. It's plain to see why Rowe was, at times, ranked #1 on several draft boards. If available at #3 in the first round, New England would be getting a steal.