TAMPA, Florida – There’s nothing particularly flashy about Kelyn Rowe, the person. But when the United States midfielder steps on the field, there’s always that chance he does something a bit different.
Case in point, his skills that led to Dom Dwyer’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Panama in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B opener Saturday.
Rowe received Jorge Villafana’s throw-in off the bounce, turning his back toward the sideline. With a quick flick of his right foot, Rowe cut back and inside of Panama’s Michael Murillo. Then, when the double team came, he went back the other way and outside to create the space needed to play in a left-footed cross that Dwyer clinically finished.
“It’s one of those of those plays where the ball got a little close and it was bouncing around,” Rowe told CONCACAF.com. “I didn’t think I could put it down and create space, so I tried something different and it ended up working out. I knew once the ball was in the air there were two guys there so I needed to go the other way and got the separation I needed for the cross.”
Rowe wasn’t as pleased with his service, which eluded one defender, before Dwyer latched on from 10-yards out and quickly turned to slip the ball inside the right post.
“I wanted to put it back. I know the defenders drop towards the goal a lot on the crosses and I wanted to put it back behind them a bit,” recalled Rowe. “I wasn’t sure Dom was going to be able to cut back and make the play and he did. It was not an easy finish. The fact he put it away made me look really good.”
Dwyer had no complaints, pointing and running toward Rowe as the two embraced on the sideline.
“I’ve been impressed with him the last couple weeks in training,” Dwyer said. “You could see right away that he looks very good at this level. I’m excited to play with him. We seem to be linking up well. Hopefully, there’s more of that.”
The U.S. returns to action with a meeting against Martinique here at Raymond James Stadium.