It's been a tough year for Kelyn Rowe.
During his sophomore campaign, the Washington native was the talk of the league after contributing seven goals and eight assists in 33 appearances (26 starts). There were discussions that Rowe was a budding star that could be the future of the US national team. Seeing growth in his first two years as a members of the New England Revolution, pundits eagerly waited to see what Rowe would offer in his third season as a professional.
Unfortunately injuries have limited Rowe's impact this season. The 22-year-old missed six consecutive games at the beginning of the year while dealing with hamstring issues. Even after coming off the injury report, there were questions about Rowe's function on the team since Diago Koyabashi was performing so well. Before Wednesday night, the Revs were 0-6-1 when Rowe was in the starting lineup.
The game against the Colorado Rapids was a breakout performance for the Revolution, who snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory. Lee Nguyen was certainly the hero of the night with two goals, including a free kick stunner. It should also be noted that Rowe, as a starter, had a classic long-range effort that rounded out the scoring.
Rowe's satisfaction was apparent as he ran towards the fans while brushing himself off. He had finally grabbed his first tally of the season.
"I actually planned not to celebrate, just because we've lost so many games in a row," Rowe told media after the game. "The emotions got the better of me, and I just kind of got the monkey off my back, it was good."
The Revs will hope that Wednesday's performance is a sign of things to come, especially in regards to Rowe. The team values his keen vision, tireless running and shots from distance. He's also needed on set pieces, especially with Chris Tierney sidelined with a MCL sprain. Against the Columbus Crew, Rowe played helper on the Revolution's only goal when his corner kick found the head of A.J. Soares.
"We need Kelyn," head coach Jay Heaps explained his in post-game press conference. "Kelyn, to me, has all the talent in the world and when he's playing well he's almost unstoppable and we need him to be a good team. I'm happy to have him back."
With Rowe's first goal in the books, you have to wonder if more are coming. Last year, Rowe scored five goals during the five games that took place between August 17th and September 14th..
It's been a tough year for Rowe so far, but a goal and assist in his most recent matches could indicate that the former Generation Adidas player is back to his old self.