FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Gustavo Bou hasn’t exactly eased his way into life in MLS.
Officially unveiled by the New England Revolution on Wednesday, July 10, Bou was on the road with the Revs just two days later for their visit to D.C. United on July 12, although he wasn’t available for selection at Audi Field as he awaited his P-1 visa.
That visa paperwork came through in time for the Argentine forward to make his debut on July 17, going 79 minutes and scoring the game-winning goal – a stunning strike on the stroke of halftime – in the Revolution’s 4-0 victory over visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Four days later Bou was in the starting XI again – and on the road again – playing 69 minutes in temperatures pushing 90 degrees and registering the game-winning assist in the Revs’ 2-0 triumph at FC Cincinnati.
For a player who hadn’t played a competitive match since Tijuana’s run in the Liga MX Torneo Clausura ended in mid-May, it was quite the gauntlet, both physically and mentally.
“It was tough on him, but he pushed through,” said sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena. “Hopefully we can get him through the week in training and have him ready for Orlando (on Saturday night). But this has been real tough on him.”
Bou has already played three different spots in the Revolution’s front four, seeing time on both wings in the win over Vancouver before starting as a second forward in behind Teal Bunbury at Cincinnati, and while he’ll need time to generate chemistry with his new teammates, early signs have been positive.
It’s clear there’s already a relationship with Carles Gil, who assisted on Bou’s winner against Vancouver before Bou teed up Gil for the winner in Cincinnati, and despite all the challenges of the past two weeks, Bou already has one goal and one assist in just 148 minutes of MLS action.
What’s more, Arena is confident that this is just the tip of the iceberg, saying Revolution fans won’t see Bou’s full capabilities until he’s had “two or three weeks” to continue building his fitness.
“I’m pleased with what Gustavo’s given us,” Arena said. “And it’s only going to get better.”