It’s safe to say that the MLS All-Star Game affected the way the New England Revolution looked on Saturday.
Head coach Bruce Arena didn’t start his team’s lead scorer because he participated in Wednesday’s exhibition against the Liga MX All Stars. Gustavo Bou played 45 minutes before exiting the summer showcase. He played the same amount of minutes against New York City FC on Saturday.
“[Bou] didn’t get back until Thursday night,” Arena explained. ‘Obviously, we have to think about player safety. Maybe the league didn’t think about that when they inserted the All-Star Game in this date like they did, but it was important that we were smart about how we dealt with that stuff.”
Bou entered at halftime against New York City FC, which wasn’t an option for Tajon Buchanan. The Canadian international was suspended since he missed the All-Star Game to travel to Belgium to sign with Club Brugge.
Arena stated that the All-Star Game is a “nice event to have,” but it doesn’t rank high on his list of concerns.
“Well, we prioritize league competition,” Arena said. “It was suggested to us that we would perhaps have Tajon travel instead of playing in the Cincinnati game, but we put league competition first, we put the transfer second, we put player safety third, and then the exhibition.”
Buchanan has proven to be a difference-maker for the Revs, as he currently has six goals and four assists in 17 games. It was clear that the Revs were missing him on Saturday, especially since Carles Gil was also unavailable.
Teammate Andrew Farrell had no comment about the suspension, but he did note that Buchanan has a lot to offer the team, saying that “he’s one of [the Revs’] better players.”
“I don’t make the rules,” Farrell said of the suspension. “We’re happy to have him back next game. We’re disappointed not having him, but I don’t make the rules.”