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Late Heroics From Gustavo Bou Propel New England Revolution to MLS Cup Playoffs Success

It was not always pretty for the New England Revolution on Friday night. They had some dominant moments, but they also displayed character and fight to weather a few storms along the way. And in the end, they got it done. It was Gustavo Bou who played the hero at Gillette Stadium. La Pantera fired a 95th minute strike past Impact goalkeeper Clement Diop to give the Revolution their first playoff victory since 2014. 

 

Game Recap

 

First Half

 

The Revs made a fast start, trading chances with Montreal right out of the gates. Gustavo Bou appeared to have opened the scoring in the fourth minute. However, the goal was rightfully ruled out when it was determined Bou steered it into the net using his hand rather than his head. 

 

The Revs continued to apply the pressure, and the breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute. Gustavo Bou floated a diagonal ball to the back post, where Carles Gil was waiting patiently. Gil took the chance first time, volleying the ball into the ground and past Diop.

 

 

Gil put his technical skills firmly on display to finish off the difficult chance. The 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year has only made three starts since returning from surgery on his left Achilles tendon. However, the Spanish playmaker has not shown much rust. Gil’s goal was so good that even Bruins superstar David Pastrnak had to chime in.

 

 

In the 41st minute, Adam Buksa had a chance to extend the New England lead. The Polish striker headed a cross from Bou on target, but Diop managed to tip the ball onto the crossbar.

 

Second Half

 

It was Montreal who began the second half brightly, looking to level the score. New England seemed to have gone into a shell, and Montreal made sure their pressure counted. The Impact’s leading scorer, Romell Quioto, pounced on a loose ball and headed it past Matt Turner.

 

 

With the tally, Quioto increased his haul against the Revolution to two goals and two assists on the year.

 

In the 62nd minute, the Revolution subbed on Lee Nguyen and the balance of play began to swing back in favor of the home team. In the 75th minute, Teal Bunbury had time and space in the box, but was unable to find the target. Two minutes later, Gustavo Bou snuck in behind the Montreal defense, but he too was unable to put the ball on net. In the 92nd minute, Buksa had another great headed chance. Diop was once again there to deny the big forward, this time tipping the ball onto the post.

 

 

The Revs had turned up the pressure, but it seemed as though the game was destined for extra time. Then, Gustavo Bou rose to the occasion.

 

In the dying seconds of the match, DeJuan Jones found Bou in the center of the park. The Argentinian put his head down and let fly from 20 yards out.

 

 

Bou’s strike dipped perfectly into the bottom corner, breaking the deadlock and securing the New England victory. 

 

Difference Makers

 

Prior to the game, I wrote that the Revolution needed to get out to a quick start. I felt that New England’s trio of Designated Players would be imperative in accomplishing that goal. Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa and Carles Gil certainly delivered in that regard.

 

Gil was the man of the match, and not only because of his goal. Carles consistently combined forward runs and pinpoint passing as only he can do. Bou was also fantastic, assisting on Gil’s tally as well as scoring the winner. Buksa was the quietest of the three, but he still threatened when opportunity presented itself. The striker hit the target with all three of his shots. Buksa was unlucky not to get a goal, forcing two phenomenal saves out of Diop.

 

Together, the big three were responsible for creating 16 of the Revolution’s 24 chances on the night (FotMob). When a team is in a do or die scenario, its best players are supposed to step up. No example illustrates this point more clearly than Bou’s winning goal. Seizing the moment turns good players into great ones, and that is what Bou, Gil and Buksa did against Montreal.

 

The Road Ahead

 

With the drama of Bou’s late winner now in the rearview mirror, the Revs can focus on what they have accomplished. With Nashville having defeated Miami last night, New England has secured a first round matchup against none other than the top seeded Philadelphia Union.

 

Philadelphia won the Supporters’ Shield as the league’s best team in the regular season. They are also a team that the Revs are all too familiar with. New England is winless in five meetings against the Union this season. 

 

If nothing else, the past defeats ensure that Bruce Arena has plenty of film to work with. He will need to come up with a solid game plan for Tuesday. Philadelphia is a highly motivated team, having finished first in the conference and the league for the first time in their history.

 

I’ll likely be back on Tuesday with a more in depth preview. Until then, I’ll say this. Philadelphia are the definitive favorites for Tuesday night, and for good reason. However, having gotten healthy at the perfect time, the Revolution are not a team to be taken lightly. The drama from Friday night will be difficult to top, but It should be a great matchup.

 

– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)

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