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Rowe, Dwyer impress in second USMNT appearances

Photo by Andrew Telles/USA Today Sports

Kelyn Rowe and Dom Dwyer are two of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s newest faces. They’re just a week removed from their international debuts and, on Saturday, the duo returned to the USMNT lineup for the team’s Gold Cup opener against Panama.

Despite their inexperience, Rowe and Dwyer shined on Saturday and were two of the few USMNT players to actually impress in what ended as a 1-1 draw in Nashville.

In a match headlined by a lack of flow or energy, the two seized the opportunity to impress in just their second USMNT matches. Rowe provided the assist on the USMNT’s lone goal while Dwyer provided the finish, sparking the U.S. to a point in a match that saw them outplayed for large stretches.

The sequence from Rowe was brilliant. After receiving the ball on the left side, Rowe flicked the ball up and over his defender before touching it past him and towards the endline. The ensuing cross skipped across the box and right to Dywer, who was in the perfect position for the finish.

It wasn’t Rowe’s only bright spot. The New England Revolution build on a solid attacking outing in his USMNT debut against Ghana with good performance with the ball at his feet. When all was said and done, Rowe fired three shots, two of which were on target while serving as one of the primary catalysts for the USMNT attack. There were only a few USMNT players capable of igniting attack in a match that saw Panama bunker, but Rowe was probably the most consistent.

Dwyer, meanwhile, did what he does best: pop up at the right moment. The goal was a perfect highlight of what you need a striker to be doing in a tight match. He hung off his defender’s back shoulder and drifted at just the right time. He found that yard of space that he needed to score and his finish was pinpoint.

With that said, the performance was far from perfect. The shot was the only one Dwyer put on target throughout 90 minutes. For much of the match, the Sporting KC forward was kept quiet and he rarely popped up in dangerous spots. Part of that blame falls on his teammates and the general lack of decisiveness from the group around him, but Dwyer was certainly quieter than he was in his USMNT debut.

Rowe wasn’t flawless either. His role in the goal conceded was massive as he dove in for a reckless tackle near the endline. He whiffed as part of one of several USMNT breakdowns on the sequence. Rowe wasn’t brought into this team for his defensive work, but the USMNT can’t afford mistakes and mishaps like Rowe’s wayward tackle attempt.

That said, the performances were largely positive from the two newcomers. In a match featuring several of the team’s most senior veterans, two fresh faces shined and helped lift the USMNT to a tournament-opening draw.


    • I think he would be worthy of the Wondo Role of running around sitting on a lead. I think Dwyer gets some slack cut for wasteful finishing that would be punished in Russia like Wondo was in Brazil.

      I think tactically you need someone in this role if we are up 2-1 with 10 minutes left. But he’s not what you want down a goal or in a finesse game.

  1. I am not so sure if Rowe played well or everyone else was so poor that he looked better than he was. It is the Thornton Mellon concept of perception: “If you want to look thin, you hang out with fat people!” (Back To School with Rodney Dangerfield). He had a few good moments and the cross for the goal, but I did not come away saying “Yes, Rowe is a guy we need to add to the roster!”.

    On the other hand, Dwyer is impressing more each time he gets on the field. The most important thing a striker can do is make the most of the few chances he gets, and Dom has done that so far. I have also been impressed with his hold up play and willingness to work defensively, both things we desperately need from our strikers.

  2. So we’re looking at the positives…
    Honestly it was a really poor effort from the team and it was just bad soccer, hard to watch. I’m glad I watched the Ghana game or I would be wondering what these guys were doing on the roster. Yes Rowe had flashes of skill, and set up the goal, but Panama torched his side of the field and he was responsible for the buildup of Panama’s goal. Acosta and McCarty, who looked so tight and precise in the middle against Ghana, were pretty terrible in this match. And our veteran defenders did not keep a high line, lost their marks over and over, and were generally run ragged by a B/C Panama team. Wow.

    And by the way, after catching a few minutes of the following match, I’m not so sure that Martinique is going to be the pushover the media is making them out to be. Their players looked big, athletic, and pretty technical. Sounded like most play in the second division in France with a few in the first division. They looked sharper than our team did.

    • Nicaragua was without their two best players, but Martinique will give the USMNT some problems…teams like that always do. However, the USMNT should have plenty of chances themselves…need to put them away. I think back to that Guadeloupe match in 2011 where Jozy scored early but then the team struggled to finish the rest of the game, and it was needlessly sweated out.

      FWIW, Martinique only has two players (which is way less than even French Guiana) currently playing in France (both in the 4th division), one in Poland, another with the Sounders, and three who are unattached (most recently played in Israel, League Two in England, and Greece).

      • I agree that Martinique should be a similar athletic team like Panama that has given the US fits in Gold Cups when they show up with slow, “smart” players. Deal is if we make it through the group reinforcements should be brought in with more of an attacking bent.

    • Villafana is the reason we were getting killed on that side. He sucks and has done so for several games in a row. I want a better A teamer later and Lichaj now.

  3. Rowe and Dwyer shine because for too long, NAT coaches, both JK and Arena are too stuck on people that simply dont produce. Why is Bedoya even in the mix. Too slow, not good enough. He’s not the only one either. I have never liked Jozy and thought him totally overated. Dwyer is the real deal. Wood is another but wanna bet Jozy starts next qualifier?

    Btw, as a Revs fan I have mixed feelings on Rowe. He’s looked good with the Nats so far and always has his moments. However, he is not the best mid on the Revs. That would be Lee N. The player Arena continues to shun and yet he could do what Corona didnt do…that is create chances for Dwyer. We looked much like a JK team yesterday untill Bedoya and Corona came out. At that point we had life and looked dangerous. Will Arena make adjustments? Doubtful… like Klinsmann, too arrogant to ever admit he was wrong in anything

    • The idea that Jozy does not produce is simply laughable. He has one of the highest scoring rates in US history.

      • Bull, Arena is looking for central destroyers to challenge Bradley Jones Beckerman which is why the Gold Cup roster is loaded with Acosta Bedoya McCarty types. Unfortunately that makes for a plodding and uncreative attack with few dangerous elements. My hope there is we make it to the playoffs and call in fresh blood with more dynamism.

    • I think Dwyer might be the perfect compliment to Pulisic up top. He will work hard, make runs, and open up space behind him for the kid to exploit. I am not sure he is the best forward we have, but I do think he will fit better than the other guys, maybe with the exception of Wood when he is fit and on his game.

      • DLOA – I like it! How about Altidore and Dom up top, CP and Nagbe on the wings, Acosta and Bradley in the middle, FJ and Yedlin as the outside backs with Brooks and Cam as the CBs. Dempsey and Wood off the bench if we need some scoring. Sounds like a good team to me!

      • I think Dwyer in reality is roughly as good as Jozy but weaker on shooting and better on chasing defense.

        Before I would have said Dempsey is better than both but after coming back from the heart issues he was ineffectual.

        The x factor you are overlooking is Wood, who when healthy is quicker and more a finisher than Dwyer, though perhaps not as aggressive in the chase. But the primary task of forwards is scoring not chasing.

    • Sorry but on Rowe you have to take bad with the good, ditto Acosta over his multiple starts….you aren’t one outing or one play, you’re your body of work……Rowe does an unnecessary and worse ineffective slidetackle in the corner on the goal and evens out his assist…..

      I felt like Dwyer is the only one earning a spot and even then as a hustle sub in the Wondo slot. This is a B team chance for these guys and no one really stepped up with a dominant 90 minute effort. A handful of players were ok enough they might be brought back to compete with the A team for sub time.

    • Agudelo and Morris would have helped how? Link up with Dax and Acosta? Hold possession in the final third, beat a defender on the dribble, and make an unlocking pass? Maybe they could have helped earlier but the US lacked an engine in the midfield. The only players that were a threat were on the left with Villafana and Rowe.

    • They didn’t do anything……I agree in general we should have subbed sooner but I dispute whether Agudelo should be on the team and none of the subs impacted the outcome…..

    • It would have allowed us to go a little more direct and pressure Panama’s defense more. Our 4-2-3-1 was static as can be and we consistently turned it over in midfield. bypassing the middle by playing it up to 2 strikers could have changed the game.
      That said, the sub of Agudelo for Corona was in the 59th? really not a late sub by any means. I think Bruce saw the issue and addressed it in a fair time.


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