PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Kelyn Rowe clearly knows how to raise his game during the nation’s longest-running soccer tournament.
Rowe scored his sixth goal in five career Open Cup games to help give the New England Revolution a 2-1 fifth-round win over the Rochester Rhinos (USL-PRO) at Stevenson Field on Wednesday.
The third-year midfielder tallied in the 33rd minute, while Saer Sene opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Lee Nguyen, a creative force for the Revolution in the first half, assisted on both goals. Colin Rolfe scored the lone Rochester goal on a Johnny Mendoza cross in the 55th minute.
Rhinos defender Babacar Diallo was red carded in the 90th minute to leave his team shorthanded in the waning minutes.
With the win, the Revolution advance to the Cup quarterfinals, where they’ll face the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on July 8.
What it means: For the second straight week, the Revolution were forced to withstand a lively opponent, though this time the pressure came in the first half. Rochester pressed New England early and often before halftime, hoping to jump out to an early lead, which would allow them to drop back and defend. But the Revolution’s quality in the final third proved to be the antidote to Rochester’s tactic, with goals from Sene and Rowe sending the hosts along to the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
Familiar foe: Wednesday’s meeting between the Revolution and Rhinos was noteworthy for a couple of reasons. For starters, the two sides entered into a player development agreement prior to last season, with the Revolution loaning out rookies and reserves to Rochester in order for them to get valuable playing time. In fact, Revolution goalkeeper Luis Soffner, along with defender Jossimar Sanchez, both were available for the Rhinos against their parent club. In addition to the affiliation agreement, Wednesday’s match marked the sixth time since 2013 the Revolution and Rhinos have met in Open Cup play, with New England holding the advantage in the all-time series (3-0-2).
Rowe returns: Open Cup hero Kelyn Rowe, who missed last week’s game in Richmond after a hamstring injury kept him from making the trip, made his 2014 debut in tournament play on Wednesday.
Another mixed lineup: Just as he did in Richmond, Revolution coach Jay Heaps used a blend of regulars and reserves for Wednesday’s match. Lee Nguyen, Jose Goncalves and Darrius Barnes were among the regulars in the lineup against the Rhinos, while Stephen McCarthy, Scott Caldwell and Brad Knighton were the notable reserves who got a second straight start on Wednesday. Daigo Kobayashi, who’s started 11 games for the Revolution, entered the match in the second half to spell Nguyen, while starting striker Patrick Mullins entered in the 79th minute for Sene.
Sundly makes debut: Rookie Alec Sundly, who was recalled from Rochester on Tuesday, made his first-team Revolution debut, starting in the central midfield. Sundly was the Revolution’s second-round pick in this year’s draft.
Next up: Following a two-week break from MLS action, the Revolution resume their regular-season schedule on Saturday when they host the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The match will conclude the season series between the conference foes, who have split 1-1-0 so far.