FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As the final whistle inched closer – only seconds away from the end of regulation – the New England Revolution’s Gustavo Bou launched a rocket to lock up their 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact and advance to Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
While Bou’s powerful game winner clinched the Revs' first postseason victory since 2014, it was truly a team effort in their full performance.
“I thought both teams played extremely hard,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “Give Montreal credit. They battled for 95 minutes. We scored, I think, two outstanding goals. And it’s nice to get both Carles [Gil] and Gustavo back on the field together. I just think we played well.”
Gil played a crucial role in setting the Revs up for success by helping them get on the board first. The captain scored the opening goal with a left-footed volley off a cross from Bou in the 38th minute to tip the scales in New England’s favor early.
“We spoke during the week about getting ahead, and that’s a really important part of the game,” said Gil through a translator. “A guy like [Romell] Quioto, he’s a very fast player. We took a lead tonight and that was very important.”
It wasn’t just Gil’s one-touch finish that stood out on the pitch. Gil also registered five shots and had nine key passes that allowed New England to find consistency and stay focused to get the win.
“[Gil] was very good,” said Arena. “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.”
The skillful craft that Gil plays with is not only noticed by Arena, but also his teammates.
“He’s an excellent player,” said Henry Kessler. “He’s got great vision, great technique as you saw on the goal with the volley. When he's on the ball, he runs our team and that’s great, that’s who we want to have the ball. He finds players that other people can’t. He’s got great passing ability, great range, great vision and that really helps us.”
The 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year missed nearly three months of the Revs’ season while he was recovering from surgery to debride his left Achilles tendon, returning just in time to join the squad for the playoffs. His goal on Friday night was his first since last September.
“My goal was to do everything possible to help this team,” said Gil. “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.”
Gil’s performance against Montreal was only the third 90-minute runout he’s had all year. Luckily, the Spanish playmaker had a 12-day stretch to train with the team to better integrate before the playoffs.
“I needed training time,” said Gil. “This season, because of COVID, has been the way it has been. A lot of games in a quick time. I wasn’t able to train. I had to play games right away, so I had to gain some rhythm. I felt much better in Philadelphia [on Nov. 8] and today, too. I practically feel like I’m at 100 percent again.”
Having Gil fully fit and healthy is a big boost for the Revolution as they look to continue to make a playoff run. New England will kick off in the next round of the postseason at the Supporters’ Shield winners, the Philadelphia Union, on Tuesday, November 24 at 8 p.m. ET, with coverage on ESPN.