Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil have been impactful players for the New England Revolution when fit and on the field and both played a key role on Friday, propelling the club into the next round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The two designated players delivered in a 2-1 home victory over the Montreal Impact on Friday, the first playoff win for the Revs since 2014. Bou assisted on the opening goal, scored by Gil before sealing the victory in the 95th minute with a screamer of his own. It was another example of the connection the players have when on the field together, which earned New England its first playoff win in six years.
“I thought both teams played extremely hard. Give Montreal credit,” Revs head coach Bruce Arena said post match. “They battled for 95 minutes. We scored, I think, two outstanding goals. And it’s nice to get both Carles and Gustavo back on the field together. I just think we played well.”
“I think Diop had an outstanding game for Montreal. Montreal had a good plan. They defended well. They frustrated us at times. We created some good chances and maybe had a chance to be ahead by two goals and weren’t successful there. And give them credit. Quioto scored a good goal. So, we had to battle all the way and I’m pleased we were able to get our second goal in regulation time.”
Bou and Gil have both dealt with injuries this season, with Gil recently coming back from a long-term knee injury. Not only did both play a role on the scoresheet, but sparked the Revolution attack in what easily could’ve been a more lopsided result if not for Diop’s heroics.
Diop made seven saves in the match, while in total the Revolution outshot the Impact 25-9. Gil created the most chances with nine while also completing the most passes in the match with 73. He also had three good chances on goal and showed again why he was the club’s best attacking player in 2019.
“He was very good,” Arena said. “Yeah. He was very good. What more can you say? He had a goal. He obviously helped control the tempo of the game. His passing, at times, is outstanding. A really good game and obviously the more he continues to play, he’s only going to get better because he’s basically been out most of the year. So, we can see, every game there’s been a progression.”
“I said before that I wanted to come back, and my goal was to do everything possible to help this team,” Gil said. “I had a lot of people helping me out, especially my personal trainer. It wouldn’t have been possible without him. I was able to come back sooner and join the end of the season. The team has had a great year, we’re in the playoffs, and we’re here for a reason.”
Bou’s numbers took a slight dip this season, but his impact in Foxborough on Friday night kept the Revolution alive in the Eastern Conference. He completed over 80% of his passes while connecting with Gil on the opening goal in the first-half.
Despite missing four attempts on goal, Bou’s fifth and final attempt was the winning goal, showing that the midfielder wasn’t going to give up on trying to help his team win.
“Gustavo is a goal scorer,” Arena said. “And we expect him to get goals. I don’t think we’re anticipating that he’s going to get them all the time in the 95th minute, but that’s what Gustavo does. He’s a goal scorer. He’s a good player, but his DNA is scoring goals. It’s great to see that he got one tonight. I think that’s going to help his confidence because it’s probably been awhile since he’s scored a goal. I think that was a great goal for him and certainly a great win for our team.”
“I think since he first arrived the team has done really well,” Gil said about Bou. “The type of player that I am, I like to provide assists. Playing with Gustavo has been a pleasure. He’s always in front of the goalkeeper in one-on-one opportunities and he has a great shot. I think from the first moment when he got here, we trained well. Obviously, we speak the same language and that helps. All of us in the attack, we understand each other and complete one another well.”
With both players having a major impact in Friday’s win, Arena will be hoping the duo can connect once again in Tuesday’s trip to No. 1 seed Philadelphia Union. It will be the sixth meeting between the two clubs this season, with the Union undefeated with four wins out of five.
Bou and Gil both started together in a 2-0 loss against the Union on Decision Day, a result which clinched a first-ever trophy for the Union. After delivering in an elimination match against Montreal, both players will be key to New England’s hopes of beating a Union side that hasn’t lost at Subaru Park in 2020.
“I think this is another step in that progression,” Arena said. “You know, qualifying for the playoffs the last two years is a positive. And now winning a game is a positive. And then we have a really challenging game on Tuesday against the so-called best team in the league. So, it’s going to be a real challenge, but this is a very good win for our program as we continue to build it.”