Gustavo Bou was unable to find the back of the net on Saturday night, but that didn’t mean that he played poorly.
Playing 89 minutes, the 31-year-old had 58 touches, four chances created (most in the match), and one hell of an assist. It was a display of how much the striker had evolved as a player.
Of course there is one thing that you want your strikers to do, score goals, but there is a fine line between having a shoot-first mentality and being selfish and actually hurting the club. Especially early in his Revolution career Bou was taking a low percentage shot when he could have dished the ball to a teammate.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday night. Bou would show early and often that he was willing to defer to his teammates that had a better chance of scoring.
Just nine minutes into the match, Bou executed a beautiful dummy to gain some open space on the left flank. He would take the ball all the way into the final third before sending a beautiful cross into the box that Adam Buksa would put away to give the Revs an early 1-0 lead.
Bruce Arena was asked about Bou’s progression as a player and the head coach believes that Bou has bought in.
“I think he’s buying into being a team player,” Arena said. “I think his previous background was a little bit different and we’re trying to make him into more of a striker on a full-time basis. He doesn’t always agree with that kind of thinking, but he’s getting there. Tonight, he did a wonderful job creating the first goal. He’s had a good approach to everything for two years here. We’re really pleased with Gustavo, and another good effort tonight. He was dangerous throughout the night, I think a little unlucky not pulling off the final play to get the third goal. He’s done well. He’s a more complete player now.”
Someone else who is pleased with the striker is his teammate Tajon Buchanan. The Canadian winger believes that Bou is one of the best in MLS at what he does.
“Yeah, obviously he’s an excellent player,” Buchanan said. “He helps us. He’s one of the best players in MLS, one of the top goal scorers also. He’s been having a good season and like I said with Matt Turner, I’m very happy that he’s on this team.”
This has been one of Bou’s best seasons since joining the club. He is within the top five in the golden boot race and overall has become a much better player.
New England will need the 31-year-old at the top of his game as they prepare for what should hopefully be a long playoff run but there is no denying that Bou has improved as a player since joining the Revs.