When Gustavo Bou arrived in New England in the summertime of 2019, he made an on the spot (and electrical) affect.
In his first sport with the Revolution, the Argentine ahead smashed a thunderous volley immediately off a Carles Gil nook kick into web. It wasn’t only a debut aim, it was jolt to a group that — other than Gil — had been missing game-changing expertise.
Evidently, the Revolution gained that day, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 to increase what would turn into a membership file unbeaten run (culminating with the group’s first playoff look since 2015).
Flashing ahead to 2023, Bou — who has helped the Revolution make the playoffs 4 instances in 5 seasons — is heading into what might be his ultimate video games with New England. He hopes (as do Revolution followers) to make his goodbye as memorable as his introduction.
The Revolution face a best-of-three first-round playoff collection towards the Philadelphia Union beginning at Subaru Park on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Bou, 33, is out of contract after the 2023 season. And since the group presently lacks a sporting director (following the August resignation of Bruce Area), there’s little certainty about his future with the membership.
Having missed time in the midst of the season attributable to damage, he’s been slowly working his means again into kind. Lastly, within the Oct. 21 common season finale (towards Philadelphia), he notched a pair of objectives to assist the Revolution to a 2-1 win on the cusp of the postseason.
Requested after the sport by WPRO’s Tom Quinlan if he’s thought of his future, Bou provided a prolonged reply.
“I do know it might be certainly one of my final video games right here,” he stated through translation from Revolution communications supervisor Harold Rivera. “Everyone knows my contract ends on the finish of the season. I haven’t talked an excessive amount of or had many conversations about my future, however I simply attempt to get pleasure from within the second, and concentrate on [the] day-to-day. That’s the mentality and the best way I’ve been since my first day right here.”
He’s made it completely clear that he enjoys dwelling in New England, and there’s a chance that Bou might return (although he’d probably need to take a pay lower for wage cap functions from his present standing as one of many group’s three Designated Gamers).
However as he spoke, he appeared like somebody considering the top of a chapter. It wasn’t all nostalgia, nevertheless. He additionally delivered a message to followers concerning the upcoming MLS Cup Playoffs.
“If these are my final video games with the membership, I would like them to be my greatest video games and I need to play them in one of the best ways doable,” he defined. “These 4 years, I’ve loved them loads. My household has tailored effectively. My daughters have tailored effectively. Bruce was actually assured in bringing me right here when he introduced me right here, and I’ll all the time be pleased about the membership.”
The potential of seeing a extremely motivated Bou — intent on enjoying his “greatest video games” — is an thrilling prospect for Revolution followers.
Aptly nicknamed “La Pantera” (The Panther), he possesses predatory instincts in entrance of aim. In 100 appearances for the Revolution, he has 44 objectives and 17 assists.
Bou can be no stranger to popping up in essential moments. His ninety fifth minute strike towards Montreal within the 2020 play-in sport helped launch New England’s surprising run to the Japanese Convention Finals that season.
Within the brief time period, Bou is also the pure reply to one of many Revolution’s particular issues.
After going weeks in direction of the top of the common season with no aim from conventional middle forwards Bobby Wooden or Giacomo Vrioni, Bou confirmed that simply because he isn’t naturally a lone striker, he can nonetheless be efficient within the function.
Requested to play upfront by himself in a 4-2-3-1, his motion and talent to attach passes set him other than interim head coach Clint Peay’s different choices on the place.
“One all the time tries to collaborate with the group. [Peay] is aware of that. We talked about it. It’s not my routine place,” Bou stated of enjoying as a lone striker. “I wish to play with two strikers. [Peay] is aware of I can play there and I can do it effectively.
“I’m all the time at his disposition. I attempt to assist the group,” he added after the win towards the Union. “We had an awesome sport towards an awesome opponent. I talked to [Peay] and my teammates, and that all the time makes it simpler. I all the time attempt to adapt to my teammates simply as a lot as I adapt to any place. I’ve nice teammates who get me nice alternatives in entrance of the aim to attain.”
The partnership with Gil — solid instantly on that day towards Vancouver in 2019 — has all the time come simply to Bou. The 2 mixed for the Revolution’s second aim towards Philadelphia, one other good signal for New England followers hoping to see each gamers at their peak within the postseason.
It was testomony to his distinctive capability at middle ahead: As an alternative of beginning as a focus on the shoulder of the final defender (as maybe Wooden and Vrioni would do), Bou started his run from a deeper place, catching Union middle again Damion Lowe unaware as he snuck in behind.
The opposite, a lot newer partnership he’s been cultivating is one with fellow Argentine Tomás Chancalay. Signed midseason, Chancalay has been deployed as each a winger and ahead. With Bou roaming freely round entrance line, the 2 have been capable of hyperlink passes and sometimes interchange positions. As Chancalay has been one of many brighter spots for the Revolution in an up-and-down again finish of the common season, Bou’s skill to attach with him and Gil might find yourself changing into one of the best model of the group’s assault.
Having now performed professionally in three nations spanning a number of continents, Bou might be forgiven for viewing his time with the Revolution as simply one other cease in his profession. But as he concluded the remarks about his future on Saturday, it was clear that New England means way more to him than only a title on a map.
“There’s a phrase that I all the time say, ‘Soccer takes you the place soccer desires to take you, not the place you need it to take you,’” stated Bou. “It’s the primary time in my profession that I’ve spent this a few years at a membership, however I’m simply fulfilling the contract and I’m having fun with this. Considering that it might be certainly one of my final video games makes me emotional as a result of I’ve had so many nice reminiscences with this membership, however that’s all I can say.”
Get the newest Boston sports activities information
Obtain updates in your favourite Boston groups, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.