The 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs got off to a thrilling start, as the New England Revolution topped the Montreal Impact 2-1 in the Play-In Round match between the sides at Gillette Stadium on Friday, thanks to a golazo at the death from Gustavo Bou.
Carles Gil scored the first goal of the match for New England in the 38th minute, giving the Revs a 1-0 lead they would hold into the second half, only to relinquish it thanks to a clutch leveler from Montreal's Romell Quioto. But Bou came to the rescue on with of the last kicks of the match with a stunning distance strike that sends New England through and brings Montreal's season to a heartbreaking end.
The Revs had the better of the chances throughout much of the first half and found their breakthrough courtesy of Gil, who lashed home a gorgeous first-time volley off a feed from Bou.
But the Impact would strike back in the 61st minute after Amar Sejdic sent a free kick into the box that was headed back across the danger zone by Rudy Camacho into the path of a charging Quioto. The Honduran cashed home the huge equalizer with a perfectly placed headed finish past the outstretched arms of New England goalkeeper Matt Turner.
The leveler set up a back-and-forth finish as the sides swapped chances in search of a winning goal. The Revs had a flurry of close chances, starting in the 76th minute, when Gil found Teal Bunbury wide open in the box for a look on goal with Montreal goalkeeper Clement Diop charging off his line. But Bunbury put a curling effort just over the crossbar.
New England nearly struck for a winner twice more before full-time, as Bou had a shot trickle just wide in the 86th minute and Gil was denied by a sprawling save from Diop just moments later. Adam Buska also came within inches of a dramatic winner in second-half stoppage time with a snap header that looked bound for goal but was denied again by a diving Diop, who managed to deflect the shot off the post and get Montreal within mere moments of extra time.
But the Montreal goalkeeper's late heroics would be extinguished by a spectacular winner from Bou just before the final whistle, as the Argentine lashed home a laser strike from distance into the bottom corner, sending the Revs through in dramatic fashion to face either the Philadelphia Union or Toronto FC.
- THE BIG PICTURE: What a start to this year's postseason. Give credit to the Impact for a hard-fought performance with a shorthanded lineup, but in the end, the heart-pounding finish ends with another playoff win on the distinguished resume of Bruce Arena. They had to work hard for this one, but the Revs were the deserved winner with a strong overall performance. New England have all three of their Designated Players fit and healthy, and the duo of Gil and Bou showed how significant a development that might be as they look to turn the dramatic victory into a postseason run.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It's the late winner from Bou, which was a gorgeous finish in the biggest of moments.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Scoring a 95th-minute game-winner is usually a good way to get the honors. Bou is the choice for this one as well.
- NE: Tuesday, Nov. 24 vs. Philadelphia Union (8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN3, TVA Sports in Canada) | Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One
- MTL: End of season