FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution’s record investment in Argentinian forward Gustavo Bou has paid its first dividend. Bou made a spectacular debut, volleying a goal in the final seconds of the opening half as the Revolution took a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.
The Revolution (7-8-6, 27 points) moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference and remained unbeaten since Bruce Arena was named sporting director/head coach in May, a nine-game streak that is their best since 2014.
Bou, acquired for transfer and salary totaling $12 million from Club Tijuana last week, fit into the Revolution attack almost immediately. With the Whitecaps (4-10-8, 20 points) laying back, the Revolution went on the offense for most of the first half. The Revolution nearly opened the scoring as Juan Fernando Caicedo just missed a sliding finish at the back post off a Brandon Bye cross (third minute); Bye hit the left post (15th); and Caicedo had a rebound of a Carles Gil shot saved (37th).
The Revolution earned a corner kick just before the 45-minute mark, as referee Robert Sibiga signaled zero added time in the first half. But the corner had to be re-taken after a Vancouver reserve player tossed a ball onto the field. Then, nearly a minute into added time, Bou volleyed a shot with the outside of his right foot from the penalty arc off Gil’s corner, Sibiga confirming the goal after a VAR replay.
Bou capitalized on the Whitecaps’ zonal marking on the corner, setting up outside the penalty area as Gil took an outswinging, left-foot corner.
“[Gil] let me know they were in two lines of five the first two corners and there was nobody [outside the penalty area],” Bou said. “At that moment, I went back and we yelled at each other, and he gave me a quality ball to finish. It was a beautiful goal and I’m happy.”
Gil was acquired before the season on a $2 million transfer from Deportivo La Coruña, the Revolution’s highest payout before Bou.
“They looked like they have a good understanding,” Arena said of Bou and Gil. “We saw it in training. It’s going to take some time. I think in another month we’ll know a lot more about that combination.
“It takes time for any player. very rarely do you see a player in any sport come in with a new team and not miss a beat. It takes a little time but I thought he [Bou] grew into the game.”
But the result was not decided until late, the Revolution sparked by substitutes Diego Fagundez and Cristian Penilla. Fagundez converted for the first time this season, heading in a Penilla cross (82nd). Gil scored his sixth goal (86th) and Teal Bunbury finished a Penilla feed (90th), his fifth goal of the season.
Vancouver, which had its winless streak extended to seven games since May 25, did not attempt a shot in the opening half, but nearly equalized on their first attempt, Theo Bair hitting the left post in the 51st minute. The Whitecaps opened up in the second half, and substitute Fredy Montero drew a 71st-minute foul from Luis Caicedo, who was cautioned and will be suspended for the Revolution’s visit to FC Cincinnati on Sunday.
“Obviously, really pleased with the group,” Arena said. “There were certainly some good moments. A little sloppy, inconsistent, we conceded some chances in the second half. As the game went on we created some good chances and, certainly, the last 10-15 minutes was all ours. Our team is learning how to play together.
“Gustavo is a new player and there is only so much you can do in training. You’ve got to see him in a game. And as the game went on, we had a better feel for him. That’s positive. Hopefully, he can get out of bed tomorrow and give us some minutes in Cincinnati.’’