Bou scores emotional first goal after return from injury | “We want to give him confidence”

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – On the face of it, Gustavo Bou’s goal in Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a well taken penalty, to be sure, but it wasn’t the type of golazo we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Bou over the course of the past few seasons. It wasn’t even a match winner, as the New England Revolution settled for a point despite outshooting the Union by a margin of 22-5.

But for Bou it was an emotional goal nonetheless, a sign that perhaps better days are on the horizon following a difficult start to the 2022 campaign. The 32-year-old Argentine hadn’t scored since last October – the byproduct of a two-month injury absence that saw Bou sidelined from mid-March to mid-May – and the relief appeared to pour out as he celebrated with the Foxborough faithful.

“Huge. He’s been training so hard and he’s done so well to get back fit,” Sebastian Lletget said of the confidence Bou’s goal could give him moving forward. “Carles [Gil] usually would take it [the penalty], he’s been doing so well. Again, it just shows how we care about our own and we want to give him confidence, and I thought that was the right decision. I’m glad he tucked it away.”

Bou is no stranger to taking penalties, but Gil has most often been the Revolution’s designated penalty taker, including going 4-for-4 from the spot already this season. But the captain yielded to allow Bou an opportunity to bag a confidence-building goal, which he did with a shot placed just inside the post and past the outstretched arms of Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Adding an extra special element to the moment, Bou’s brother Emiliano was watching from the stands with Revolution supporters in The Fort, and television cameras captured his emotional reaction.

“I’m very happy for him, that he was able to score a goal,” said Dylan Borrero, who made his home debut and set up the penalty when his left-wing cross was blocked with an arm. “I think that goal will help our team a lot. I think little by little, we’ll build more confidence.”

Saturday night marked Bou’s first start since his return from injury following a pair of substitute appearances, and he was active throughout his 90-minute performance. He led the team with six shots, including three on target, and while Bou will be disappointed not to have scored more than once, head coach Bruce Arena is confident that sharpness will return in short order.

“Good performance,” Arena said of Bou. “Obviously, he has to get back to playing on a regular basis. You could see he didn’t have his sharpness. He had some pretty good chances that maybe three games from now, he’ll put them in the back of the net.”