Jacen Russell-Rowe makes debut in Copa America

Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night in Atlanta, Jacen Russell-Rowe added to his already impressive resume when he made his Copa America debut for Canada during their 2-0 loss to Argentina in the opening match of the tournament. The Toronto native entered the game for Liam Millar in the 85th minute and logged 11 minutes of playing time thanks to the six minutes of added stoppage time.

Some Crew fans, who have directed their ire at Russell-Rowe this season, may find it hard to believe he has put together an impressive list of accomplishments. At just 21, he has won an MLS Cup, MLS Next Pro Cup, MLS Next Pro MVP, and has multiple caps with the Team Canada. He’s appeared with them in the CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as Copa America.

Finding himself with an expanded role this season in Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy’s system, Russell-Rowe has shined and struggled. At times he has looked confident and dangerous, but he’s also looked out of place and not worthy of a spot in the lineup. FotMob has given him a respectable 6.86 rating (out of a possible 10) for the 11 MLS games he has appeared in for the Crew.

Russell-Rowe is well aware his overall game needs to improve and is working to do so. The $50,000 in General Allocation Money the Crew sent to Toronto to acquire him a few years ago is already proving to be a bargain. But if he reaches the potential he seems to possess, Russell-Rowe will be a steal at that price. The hope is he gets more of an opportunity to shine for Canada at Copa America. After taking on Peru on Tuesday in Kansas City, the Canadians round out group play with Chile on June 29th in Orlando. He is the only Crew player participating in Copa America.