Carles Gil’s set piece prowess makes it risky to foul a New England Revolution player near the box.
Gil created seven chances from dead ball situations during Saturday’s 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati. Four MLS players have achieved this feat in the last decade and only Diego Valeri (8) has created more.
Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner doesn’t have to deal with Gil’s set pieces during practices, noting that it’s usually Earl Edwards Jr. or Brad Knighton who’s facing El Rey. Still, Turner knows that it’s pretty daunting to see Gil lining up to take a free kick.
“When you have a player like Carles, he elevates your games because he forces you to think ahead,” Turner explained. “For me, I’m thinking, where can he put this ball? When can he put that ball there and how can I position myself to deal with the most dangerous situations?”
Even this type of forethought can fail because Gil is always coming up with new ideas. Turner summarized it by saying, “He’s playing chess, I think most other people are playing checkers.”
Of course, none of this matters if the ball doesn’t end up in the back of the net. For this to happen Gil usually has to connect with a teammate.
On Saturday, Gil found Adam Buksa in the 70th minute to earn a helper on a crucial goal. A similar play was seen in the season opener against the Chicago Fire.
Although it doesn’t always play out the way they’d like, Gil is constantly looking to connect with the 6’3 striker, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if the two combine more often in the future.
“We were just joking that one day we’ll get lucky and he’s going to score three or four goals and I’ll have three or four assists,” Gil remarked. “He’s already scored two goals in dead ball situations. In other situations, he’s hit the post. I think what’s important is that we’re generating. Today it was one, other times it’s been two or three, but we’re happy.”