FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Carles Gil has been so spectacular this season that it takes something truly special for him to register a standout performance, but that’s exactly what he did on Wednesday night in the New England Revolution’s 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls.
Gil assisted on all three Revolution goals as the hosts improved to 5-0-0 at Gillette Stadium, won their fifth straight game dating back to mid-May, and maintained their five-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings. It was the first three-assist game for a Revolution player since Lee Nguyen set the club record – and tied the MLS record – with four assists on September 2, 2017.
“In my case, I have to play fast,” Gil said via translator. “I can’t hold onto the ball too long – I just have to have a few touches. If you hold the ball too long, they pressure you. We tried to take advantage of those spaces there in other areas of the field, and that’s one of the things that we did to get the win.”
Gil’s trio of assists came in all different manners. He set up Tajon Buchanan’s opening goal with a clever chip through the Red Bulls’ backline after evading a defender on the dribble. He played a line-splitting pass to spring DeJuan Jones into the box for the Revolution’s second. He launched a long ball over the top to set up Gustavo Bou’s eventual game winner.
In just 10 games, Gil has provided assists to seven different teammates.
“I think from the start of my time here, I have gained great chemistry and I understand my teammates very well,” he said. “For me, it’s easy to play with these guys because they’re fast and they play well in space. The guys up top, like Tajon and Gustavo, they finish well. Hopefully together we can continue to score more goals.”
Gil now has an MLS-leading 10 assists on the season – twice as many as anyone else in the league – and that includes eight in the past five games, and a remarkable five in the last two games. Astonishingly, Gil registered all five of those assists in a 63-minute span between the 78th minute of last weekend’s win over NYCFC and the 51st minute of Wednesday night’s victory over the Red Bulls.
With 10 assists through 10 games, Gil is on pace to shatter both the Revolution single-season mark of 19 (set by Steve Ralston in 2002) and the MLS record of 26 (set by Carlos Valderrama in 2000). His 10 helpers are already tied for the sixth-most assists in a single season in Revolution history, not yet 30 percent of the way through the schedule.
Of course, it’s still far, far too early to be talking assist records.
“We’re in game 10,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “Let’s worry about that in September and October. I don’t even know what the record is and all of that. Carles is doing very well, and whatever lies ahead, lies ahead.”
While that is of course the logical approach, it doesn’t mean that Gil’s teammates aren’t confident he’ll continue racking up assists at a record-setting pace in the coming months.
“I definitely think he can get that record,” said Jones. “I’m not sure what it is, but another three assists tonight – I’m sure he’s on his way. I think it’s just his vision and his patience. He’s so composed on the ball. When he’s sizing a guy up you think he’s just focused on the one-on-one, but he’s surveying the field and he’s ready to deliver the pass, the killer pass. We’re lucky to have him on our team.”