Designated Player

Bou marks dream Revs debut with jaw-dropping golazo | “It was a great connection”

Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou goal celebration (2019, primary)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass – Carles Gil screamed Gustavo Bou’s name to get his attention.

A few moments later all of Gillette Stadium was screaming Gustavo Bou’s name, too, awestruck by the Argentine forward’s jaw-dropping wonder goal just 45 minutes into his MLS debut.

The play that defined Bou’s debut – a largely solid 79-minute performance in the New England Revolution’s comprehensive 4-0 win over visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday night – arrived on the stroke of halftime. Gil, recognizing the Whitecaps dropping deep to defend corner kicks, had instructed Bou to hold his place outside the box in case he could find him in that space.

Gil, who first yelled Bou’s name to alert him to the incoming service, lofted his corner to the top of the box, perfectly weighted for Bou to run onto it. What happened next left mouths agape, as Bou met Gil’s service on the full volley, lashing his shot past helpless Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Not bad for a debut goal.

“I think it was a great connection on that play, because Carles told me on a couple of the first corners that there was really nobody hanging back in the larger area behind the box,” Bou said postgame through an interpreter. “In that specific moment, I wanted to go backwards a bit. Carles screamed to me, I screamed to him, and I think it’s a connection that had a lot of quality.”

Sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena, who officially made Bou his first signing with the Revs one week ago, said “it takes time for any player” to fully integrate themselves into a new squad, and Bou won’t be any different, having trained with the Revs just a handful of times before Wednesday’s debut.

But even as they settle into new surroundings, special players have special qualities, and there’s no question Bou showed that with his moment of magic against Vancouver.

“You don’t see that often players able to take that ball out of the air like that and strike it as clean as he did,” said Arena, who joked at halftime about teaching Bou that technique on the training ground. “If you want to give me full credit for that, I would be glad to accept it. But I had nothing to do with that play.”

What Arena did have something to do with was putting Bou in a position to succeed, lining him up on the left side of the Revolution’s four-man front and giving him the freedom to combine with Gil, Juan Fernando Caicedo, Teal Bunbury, and Juan Agudelo.

While his goal undoubtedly highlighted the performance, there were also smaller moments – a clever combination with Gil, or a powerful free kick that forced a strong save from Crepeau – which gave Arena confidence that Bou is building towards his full potential with the Revolution.

“Gustavo’s a new player, and you can only do so much in training; you’ve got to see him in a game,” Arena said. “As the game went on, we had a better feel for him – both the coaching staff and the players on the field. So that’s a real positive.”

There will be another chance to see him on the field soon, as the Revs will play their third game in 10 days on Sunday evening when they visit expansion side FC Cincinnati for the first time. Although Bou admitted to being “a little tired” after going 79 minutes in his first appearance since May, he said he fully expects his second Revolution appearance to come at Nippert Stadium this weekend.

“I’ve spoken with the staff, and it was obviously a very long game, but thankfully it ended well without any issues,” said Bou. “I’ll definitely be ready for the next game without any problems.”

I – and I’d assume the entirety of the Revolution fan base – can’t wait.