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Kamara, Kouassi stock rises in Revolution win vs. Dynamo

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During a complete team performance, these four players stood out from the crowd.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at New England Revolution Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It was a stock up kind of weekend for the Revolution, who earned a convincing win over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon. The club now finds itself just three points behind first-place Crew SC with a game in hand.

Though numerous players looked sharp during the weekend win, these four stood out from the crowd:

Stock up

Kei Kamara

In arguably his best performance of the season, Kamara buzzed about with purpose from the opening whistle to the end of his 76-minute outing. He pestered the Dynamo back line, worked hard in possession and, most importantly, beat Tyler Deric to give the Revs an advantage they never relinquished.

This is the Kamara Revolution fans have waited to see: an athletic, hard-working goalscorer who spends his shift tormenting opposing back lines. His finish wasn’t pretty, but every goal looks the same on the scoreboard. Kamara will try to build on his performance this weekend against the Chicago Fire.

Xavier Kouassi

You’d never know Kouassi had reconstructive knee surgery just a year ago. The Revolution DP has shown no rust in the early stages of 2017, asserting himself as a “wall” in front of the Revs back four, according to Antonio Delamea.

On Saturday, Kouassi hounded the ball, made sound decisions moving forward and won challenges both on the ground and in the air (he led the way defensively for the Revs with four tackles and five interceptions). Jay Heaps sung his praises after the match, saying, “I don’t think he took a wrong step out there.”

Kouassi already looks like gritty defensive presence the Revs need in the post-Jermaine Jones era.

Josh Smith

Smith’s stock rose last week after earning a surprise start vs. Portland. Following his performance against the Dynamo, his stock continued to surge. The University of San Francisco product played with confidence in both matches while refusing to back down to anyone—including veteran attackers Fanendo Adi and Erick Torres.

Against the Dynamo, Smith collected a game-high eight clearances. He also asserted himself as a safety net on defensive set pieces.

Can Smith really displace Benjamin Angoua in the Revs Starting XI? It certainly looks that way. And though Heaps will likely play the best defensive unit for each matchup, Smith looks more and more like the first-choice center back to pair with Delamea.

Kelyn Rowe

Things haven’t always gone according to plan for Rowe. The true number 10 has watched both Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo steal his preferred spot during the past two seasons, forcing him to occupy a variety of less-desirable roles. But no matter where Heaps plays him, Rowe always turns in a hard-fought shift.

The UCLA grad showed off this versatility on Saturday when Heaps slotted him in at left back. Rowe responded by turning in a strong two-way performance. His defensive play (three tackles, two interceptions, four clearances) frustrated Alberth Ellis all afternoon, as the Honduran forward finished with just one off-target shot.

While Rowe likely doesn’t represent a long-term solution at left back, his ability to move about the Starting XI has proven invaluable throughout his Revolution career.

Poll

Whose stock rose the most vs. Houston?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Kei Kamara
    (5 votes)
  • 31%
    Xavier Kouassi
    (28 votes)
  • 46%
    Josh Smith
    (41 votes)
  • 15%
    Kelyn Rowe
    (14 votes)
88 votes total Vote Now