When Peter Lowry netted twice for the Fire in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Columbus, you couldn't blame the midfielder for wanting to soak it all in. After all, it's not too often that the 24-year-old Lowry gets a start, let alone scores two goals.
"I was pretty excited," said the second year midfielder. "It's pretty rare that something like that happens."
But no matter how much Lowry's performance may have surprised some people, his coaches and teammates were adamant that it was only a matter of time before the Santa Clara product broke out.
"I think he did well. I think he's actually done well the last few games that he's been called upon," said injured midfielder John Thorrington - who Lowry was filling in for on Sunday. "I don't think he surprised anyone in here that he took those goals as well as he did. I thought it was fantastic. I'm extremely happy for him; he's such a good kid, he's worked hard the last couple of years to get this chance and he's taking full advantage of it."
Lowry certainly has had to battle for his chance this year. After not seeing any MLS action in 2008, Lowry injured his knee in the preseason of this year and was unable to make his MLS debut until July 18th against San Jose. Ever since the victory over San Jose though, Lowry has taken the role of third central midfielder by the horns, starting 5 of the team's 10 matches since the mid-July affair.
"I'm real proud of him," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "I think last season he was probably the one guy that never really got a chance and I think this year he came in and he was behind the 8 ball because he had a knee injury in preseason that kind of lingered all the way into May. But - to his credit - he worked hard and waited for his opportunity and I think the minute that he got it he made it real clear that when we do the lineup [sheet] his number and name should be on [it]."
So what has been the difference between this year and last year for Lowry? According to Hamlett, it's all about the defense.
"Today you guys saw the part that we've sort of seen for awhile, that around the goal he's pretty composed and he can hit a ball," said Hamlett. "I think [last year] in our reserve league he probably lead our team in goals but the part that he's done so much better is the defending part. Now he can be a two way player and make it hard for the other team and at the same time be a guy that can slip balls and finish chances."
Lowry's recent emergence as a midfield option for the Fire means only good things for the club. This is especially true when you consider Chris Rolfe's impending transfer to Aalborg. The Fire will be losing a very solid midfielder in Rolfe and Lowry coming into the fold eases my worries (at least a little bit...) about the state of the midfield in 2010.