For Kelyn Rowe, a return to the New England Revolution and a return to MLS competition have presented him with a fresh and positive outlook for the duration of the season.
New England went unbeaten during its group stage of competition, winning one of its three matches, but were scoreless in two other matches, scoring merely two goals overall, including a knockout-round shutout loss to Philadelphia.
“I think it’s just about getting numbers in front of the goal and creating the best chances possible,” Rowe said after a workout at Gillette Stadium Wednesday. “I thought we did very well in Orlando, but we missed maybe the final pass or missed the final touch on goal. We’ve been working on correct runs in the box, putting in good service and finding the back of the net.”
The 28-year-old midfielder is in his ninth MLS season, and his eighth with New England. Originally drafted by the Revolution as the third overall pick in 2012, he was then traded to Colorado in December of 2018 before being re-signed by the New England as a free agent in December 2019.
During his MLS tenure, Rowe has appeared in 227 matches (also with Sporting Kansas City and Salt Lake), collecting 29 goals and 42 assists.
“I think the league and the Players’ Association handled Orlando very well, and we were able to get back, and it’s very, very good,” Rowe said of the MLS Is Back tournament. “Going towards the season, it’s going to be very interesting. We’re hoping that we get a schedule and things kind of work out the way it’s supposed to work out and everything’s safe. We’re ready to play as fast as possible.
“You could see in Orlando that we were excited to play. We can’t wait to get back because obviously not winning against Philly is not what we wanted, but we want to make sure we can get back and get as many points towards the season as we can and hopefully play in our stadium, and hopefully play in our stadium with fans.”
New England is 1-1-3 overall on the season and awaiting word from MLS on a starting date to resume regular-season matches and what the schedule might look like in Foxboro.
“I think unfortunately it was like a second preseason,” Rowe said of the training, then two weeks of matches in Florida. “We had to get minutes quickly, play in a very hostile environment, in the sense of the heat and the humidity.
“It was a little bit awkward to have every team in the same hotel and you’re passing each other every day. It’s one of those things that we got through it. The positives were that we created a lot of chances and we didn’t give up many chances. Can we put things away and kind of tighten things up? Of course. That’s what we’re here to work on.”
Rowe is addressing the scheme of midfield play, orchestrating New England’s forward motion with Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil and Adam Buksa.
“I got used to that role a little bit of being that ball winner in the middle,” Rowe added. “It’s not something I’m used to. In my past years, I’ve obviously played everywhere, but more of an attacking player than anything else, and this time was a little different.
“I think I got a little more comfortable with my role. Players around me got more comfortable with what I was able to do. I think I gained a lot of fitness as well.”