FOXBOROUGH — Carles Gil experienced multiple in-season coaching changes during his career in Europe and MLS. Gil’s coaches at Aston Villa and Deportivo La Coruña were replaced after the team performed poorly. Similar changes were made in Gil’s first season with the Revolution, which led to the arrival of Bruce Arena as sporting director/head coach in 2019.
This year, though, the Revolution were challenging for a title — second place in the Eastern Conference with a 12-4-7 record — when the league placed Arena on administrative leave. The Revolution failed to adjust, finishing in fifth place (15-9-10, 55 points), then falling to the Philadelphia Union, 3-1 and 1-0, in a best-of-three playoff series.
“We lost [Wednesday] and we are sad and disappointed,” Gil said Thursday. “It’s not the first time I have a difficult season with a different coach. So it was difficult, and we tried to continue winning games but obviously we saw on the pitch it wasn’t the same team. We were four or five years with Bruce, you know. So we know him perfect, he knows us perfect, what to do on the pitch, what not to do on the pitch. So then, one day, we came here, everything changed and it’s never easy.”
Gil, who led the team with 11 goals and 15 assists, continued to be productive after Arena’s departure in August, but the Revolution struggled defensively in the last three months of the season.
“Sometimes we didn’t do what we needed on the pitch,” Gil said. “But this year, when everything was in the right way, we showed we were a very good team, second place, and then everything changed.
“It’s hard to respond if I’m happy because I lose [Wednesday]. I never like to lose the way we lose. It’s hard. The playoffs are the moment you are waiting all season to be ready. Obviously now, after we lose, I think everyone maybe didn’t feel like we were in the right moment. Everyone knows that in the last two months our performance was bad. But you are thinking, maybe, in the right moment, we’ll be ready. But if you are coming from two difficult months it’s difficult to change that in two games.”
Gil, talking at the Revolution training center while players were undergoing season-ending physicals, hopes to continue combining with Gustavo Bou, whose contract expires.
“We know how important [Bou] is for the club and we’ve had very good years from him,” Gil said. “I don’t know if he will stay or not but obviously I like to play with him. And, also, outside the pitch we have a very good relationship.”
Before Bou and Gil, the Revolution were reluctant to invest in impact foreign players. But Bou and Gil, along with the arrival of Adam Buksa in 2020, signaled a change in direction. The Revolution reached the Eastern Conference final in 2020 and set a league mark with a 22-5-7 (73 points) record in 2021.
“I don’t know, maybe that happened the moment that Bruce left, everything changed, and that moment was a new era,” Gil said. “Now, we’ll talk and we’ll see what happens.
“I don’t know if we will have another chance. We’ll see. I think now is time to rest. Obviously, the club will make their own decision and we will see. I think during the moments that everything was normal we were in good position, second in the league, winning the second game in the [Leagues Cup] tournament. Then, when everything happened, it was different. Obviously, we tried to take all these things off our minds but it’s not easy. Everyone is disappointed and we had a good opportunity to do important things but it didn’t happen.”
Gil, who has one year remaining on his contract, seemed eager to return next season. Asked what the Revolution need to do continue being successful, Gil said: “Win. Win and be champions. You know, maybe in the last four or five years, if you think what this club did, we were in the conference final one time, best record ever. I think these positive things can continue. If you think in [the last] four or five years you are in the top five best teams – but the important thing is to be champions. That never happened here but obviously is the goal.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.