Before he was a member of the New England Revolution, their main striker was living life in Mexico.
In May 2019, Gustavo Bou was scoring a goal for Club Tijuana in both legs of the quarterfinals of the Liga MX Clausura playoffs. His goals alone weren’t enough to push the Xolos past their adversaries, Club León, who scored an aggregate of four goals.
Two months later, the Argentine striker was signed to a Designated Player deal earning himself $2.1 Million in his first season with the New England Revolution. Gustavo instantly impacted the club in the first game he played in on July 17th, 2019 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Fellow Designated Player Carles Gil placed a beautiful corner kick to his waiting volley, which blasted past the goalkeeper.
From then to now, the following three seasons were rollercoaster-like for Bou. After giving his all in 2019 from July to October and scoring nine goals in 14 matches. The next season, he was kept to 5 goals in 18 matches, albeit in the season shortened by the COVID-19 outbreak.
In 2021, he helped the Supporters Shield winners do their thing by scoring 15 goals and adding in nine assists. 2022 brought injuries and a similar production to 2019, across an entire season.
New England Revolution need 2021 Gustavo Bou to return
Being a Designated Player comes with the responsibility of pushing your team to the forefront with the talent that deserves to be paid over the league’s maximum salary. Across the four seasons that Gustavo has been a part of already, the striker was paid on average about 2.3 million dollars. His new contract signed in 2021 earned him about $500,000 dollars more than his previous salary.
Being in the final year of that contract means that Gustavo needs to keep his production high if he hopes to gain another contract. There is chatter that old clubs of his are looking to bring him back, but I hope that doesn’t deter him from producing at the level he’s being paid.
That being said, the Revolution needs his production to return as well. The 2022 New England Revolution lacked in scoring goals, scoring 18 goals less than in 2021. If Bou returned to his 2021 goal-contributing prowess in 2022, he could have single-handedly almost erased that 18-goal difference. That’s how much the injuries to Gustavo hurt the Revolution last season.
Can Gustavo Bou return to form and help the Revolution in 2023?
As much as people may look down on his production in 2022, he was still a major reason that the Revolution wasn’t the complete bottom of the barrel in the Eastern Conference. His goal-scoring rate on average across the four seasons is still 0.51 per 90. That’s what you want your Designated Player striker to hover at if he’s had some poor seasons.
In 2022, his ability to score during the minutes he was available was still the same as in previous seasons. I believe it’s important for him to return to being a part of the creating process as well. The Revs need to have Borerro, Bolma, Carles Gil, Nacho Gil, Boateng (in the preseason camp but not signed), and others working with Gustavo to create those open spaces that New England found in 2021.
Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!
The most important thing for Bou this year is his ability to stay healthy. He can only score as much as he has at his highest points when he had the time on the field to do so. If he performed as he did in 2022, with the minutes that 2021 offered him, he would have likely scored four more goals in the entire season. It’s vital that he can see the field as often as possible to make those chances to score happen.
Another part of his game that needs to return is his ability to make something out of nothing. In 2021, Gustavo was able to outscore his own Expected Goals by four goals. In 2022, he was performing on par with his Expected Goals. The team needs the 2019 and 2021 versions of his striking ability for him to have an impact on the team’s trajectory.
Final Thoughts On Bou
With the turnover in the squad’s fitness team and a new approach to his health, I’d like to believe that Gustavo can return to form and stay healthy. His goal-scoring talent is an important part of the Revolution’s way of playing. Especially since between him and Carles Gil, they can always pull two or three defenders their way. He will also look to return to the former production to help secure his spot in the eleven over his counterpart Giacomo Vrioni who now will have a fresh start in a new season.
A final tidbit about the talented striker that is important to 2023, Gustavo is acquiring his Green Card! This is phenomenal for the squad on the whole and it may be a sign that the Revolution isn’t looking to get rid of Gustavo at the simplest transfer fee offered. If he no longer takes up an International spot, it now allows Bruce Arena to have the freedom to find foreign talent and bring them in during the summer transfer window.