The homecoming festivities continue for Kelyn Rowe.
The Seattle Sounders midfielder and Federal Way, Wash., native scored his first goal for his hometown club in a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night. After a decade playing professionally in MLS, Rowe finally had a chance to celebrate in front of his friends and family at Lumen Field.
“A bit of ecstasy,” Rowe said of the goal. “I kind of blacked out once it went in. It was a great feeling, right in front of the fans. Pure enjoyment.”
Rowe has been a versatile piece for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer so far this season. He’s played in 13 matches and started nine across various roles in the midfield, and he’s the expected backup to Alex Roldan at right wingback once Roldan departs for the El Salvador national team at the Concacaf Gold Cup. Rowe started in place of Alex’s brother, Cristian, who is away himself with the United States, and helped his club to a valuable three points at home.
“Kelyn’s a useful player,” said Schmetzer. “Credit to him, he scored a good goal that started us off. I thought he put a good shift in.”
Rowe’s story isn’t just a feel-good one, though. He’s been highly productive — he led the Sounders with four tackles and 19 duels against Houston — and is contributing on a team that is atop the Supporters’ Shield standings and just set an MLS record by going 13 matches unbeaten to start the season.
When he signed for the Sounders in January, Rowe knew what he was getting from the club, and he was eager to put on the Rave Green jersey and be a part of it.
“As things moved along in my career, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just retire in Seattle,” Rowe said. “I wanted to have a career here first…The Sounders are a winning club. It’s kind of a joke around the league that, no matter where the Sounders are seeding-wise in the playoffs, you don’t want to play the Sounders. Everyone knows it.”
Rowe and the Sounders will have a week and a half off before visiting Minnesota United on July 18 (11 a.m. PT; ESPN, 950 KJR AM, EL Rey 1360 AM) and looking to extend their undefeated mark.
“It wasn’t the first thing on our minds, but the fact that it happened is great,” Rowe said of the unbeaten record. “We want to make sure that this form continues, not only through the next five to 10 games, but when it’s really important when it comes to the last few games of the season, getting on a run and going into the playoffs in full force.”