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MLS SOCCER: Rowe scores first goal for Revolution in 3-1 win over LA; Neagle getting fit
Kelyn Rowe picked the perfect time to score his first Major League Soccer (MLS) goal.
The 2010 Federal Way High School grad and the third pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft, tallied the New England Revolution's opening goal during a 3-1 victory Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
The goal not only was the kick-start to the Revolution's win over the defending MLS champions Saturday night, it also came in front of his adopted hometown fans in Los Angeles.
Rowe played two seasons at UCLA and was the fourth Bruin player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year. In 2011, he led the conference in assists with 10 and also tallied six goals to lead UCLA into the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup in the fall.
“Kelyn has been excellent for us," said New England head coach Jay Heaps. "And tonight getting in front of his home crowd, his family, I think his family was here, but all of his college friends for sure, it was good for him. He wanted to impress and he wanted to get a goal and you could see he was real excited for it.”
Rowe's goal came in the 10th minute on a perfect set-up from New England captain Sharlie Joseph. Joseph's left-wing cross found Rowe unmarked inside the goalie's box. Rowe’s initial full-volley effort was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, but the rebound fell kindly and the rookie finished on the second attempt.
“We got it back defensively," Rowe said. "Shalrie Joseph, great with his left foot, all the way across. I just tried to put it on frame and luckily it bounced right back to me and I put it in.”
Th win over Los Angeles moved the Revolution to 2-2-0 early in the MLS season and puts them in a four-way tie for second place in the Eastern Conference. Sporting Kansas City is a perfect 4-0-0 on the year.
“I went to college two years, well, I guess a year and quarter, but it was great to play in front of family and friends and to get that first goal in front of those people it’s really fun,” Rowe said. “I thought we did well, especially going forward. I thought we played a great game overall.”
This offseason, Rowe made his camp debut with the United States under-23 National Team after earning six caps on the U-20 squad.
Neagle still looking for breakout with Montreal
Lamar Neagle hasn’t seen the amount of playing time most were expecting for the Montreal Impact’s first team. The Thomas Jefferson grad has played on 34 total minutes in Montreal's first four MLS games this season.
But the former Seattle Sounder is still looking to improve his soccer game.
Last week, Neagle started an MLS Reserve League game playing 62 minutes on March 27 during a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew reserves. The 24-year-old tallied Montreal's first goal.
It’s one more step to a return to fitness for Neagle, who has battled injuries this season.
“I can still play through (the nagging injuries), but I don’t feel 100 percent,” Neagle told MLSsoccer.com after practice last week. “I’m still trying to get to 100 percent, get the game fitness up. Those reserve games help you get confidence. Anytime you score a goal, even during practice, it feels good.”
Neagle was solid at putting the ball in the back of the net last season for the Sounders. After signing with Seattle on March 2, 2011, Neagle finished the year with seven total goals, including the club’s second-ever hat trick. The three-goal performance against the Columbus Crew earned him MLS Player of the Week, named by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).
By the end of the season, Neagle was playing in every game for head coach Sigi Schmid, mostly off the bench. He tallied his seventh goal of the year during the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals against Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders showed even more confidence in Neagle when they protected him in the recent MLS Expansion Draft. The team was only able to protect 11 total players.
But he was traded to Montreal, along with Mike Fucito, in February for US international forward Eddie Johnson.
“It all kind of adds up: how you perform in practice, in the reserve games,” Neagle explained. “Whenever you step on the field, you have to prove yourself. I look forward to (the next games), to being 100 percent, and then confidence will fully be back.”