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Gustavo Bou could debut for New England Revolution against Vancouver Whitecaps

New marquee signing looks to make MLS debut for New England Revolution against Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Gustavo Bou
Gustavo Bou (Photo credit: New England Revolution)

Gustavo Bou will likely make his debut for the New England Revolution Wednesday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Bou, a longtime target of head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena, is expected to be an impact player for the Revolution and is capable of playing multiple positions – as a scorer, playmaker, and winger – and seems to have jumped into his new life in Foxborough head-first.

He live-streamed a Rolling Stones concert while at Gillette Stadium the weekend before signing a club-record deal from Tijuana on July 10 that could be worth upwards of $17 million. Two days later, he traveled with the Revolution to Washington, D.C. and watched from a luxury box as his new teammates earned a 2-2 tie against D.C. United.

His visa has since come in and he will be in the matchday 18 against Vancouver, opening the door for him to finally take the field in a competitive setting.

“When Bruce [Arena] originally spoke with me, he talked about the specific project he’s trying to build here,” Bou said through a Spanish translator Tuesday. “He’s trying to put together a very competitive team, even now in the middle of the season. He told me he really wanted me to be a part of this project. I feel excited coming here and it’s a new challenge.

“I’m a player that likes to move between spaces up front and a player that likes to be in constant contact with the ball, either making runs or helping fit balls through for the runs. Obviously, they brought me here to score a lot of goals from the goals I’ve been scoring in Mexico and I hope to continue doing that here, but it’s not all about the goals. I’m here to help other teammates score and if it’s not with [my] goals, I’m very happy to give an assist for another teammate to score, so that’s what I hope to bring here.”

That attitude will be music to the ears of anyone associated with the Revolution, who have scored the third-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference and have a -14 goal differential to make up. New England doesn’t have much room for error though and will need Bou to hit the ground running.

Three of the team’s next four games are at home and nine of the last 14 are against Eastern Conference opponents. Meanwhile, the Revolution are just two points out of the seventh and final playoff spot, though FiveThirtyEight places their chances of reaching the post-season at 28 percent. Eventually, goal-differential and the team’s record against Eastern Conference teams, which is currently 1-8-4, will need to improve if New England is to have any hope of bettering their playoff odds.

Vancouver enters Wednesday night’s game with just one win in its last 10 and at the bottom of the Western standings. In the last three games, the Whitecaps have scored one goal and let in 10, as coach Marc dos Santos has cycled through his roster in hope of finding a combination that clicks.

This match should be a layup for the Revolution, who are unbeaten in eight league games and are taking on a weak team fresh off a cross-continental flight. But leaning on Bou and the recent upswing of Teal Bunbury won’t be enough to guarantee the full three points.

The team has had a knack for allowing untimely goals – it leads MLS in goals conceded after the 75th minute (16) – which has spoiled a few games this season. Last Friday’s tie at D.C. United was one of them, as the Revs coughed up a two-goal lead and allowed their opponents to steal a point.

“We have to get on the field and win this game on Wednesday,” Arena said. “We’re simply going to go out and do what we’ve been doing, and hopefully a little bit better and a little bit more consistent over 90 minutes.

“I think for the most part we’ve done a good job. Perhaps we’ve given away four points or so. Maybe you could even argue six points. But for the most part, defensively, we’ve played well, but that’s probably a combination of things. We’ve had some good goalkeeping and our backline has played well, but collectively, we’ve played well when our opponents are in possession.”

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