Gustavo Bou lifted his New England Revolution above CF Montréal, supplying the hosts with a 2-1 victory Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium that put them in the Supporters' Shield lead after the Seattle Sounders later dropped points.
HIGHLIGHTS: New England Revolution vs. CF Montréal | July 25, 2021
Fresh off the end of a six-game unbeaten streak midweek, Montréal visited the Eastern Conference leaders with both squads missing players due to international call-ups. Notably, New England center back Henry Kessler joined the US men's national team for their Gold Cup quarterfinal just before the weekend.
But it was the Revs who withstood a second-half comeback from the visitors to extend their lead atop the Eastern Conference to seven points.
Carles Gil appeared to have broken the ice for the Revolution in the first half, but the goal was reversed quickly after a Video Review. Bou, who was involved in the run of play, was found offside and the score was kept at 0-0.
New England wouldn't be denied for long and Bou punched his name firmly into the conversations for AT&T Goal of the Week in the 29th minute. Just about 25 yards out, the Argentine forward sent a laser towards James Pantemis' goal. The ball ringed the crossbar and made it way beyond the goal line as Revs fans jumped to their feet in celebration.
More worryingly for the Revs, striker Adam Buksa was forced to leave the match at the 36th minute following a head injury that he suffered in a collision with Pantemis.
New England then had to make a second injury substitution in the second half when center back Jon Bell came down with a leg injury. The 23-year-old subbed out for AJ DeLaGarza, leaving the Revs with a thin backline.
But that didn't derail the hosts and Bou added his second goal of the night with 17 minutes remaining. Gil sent a ball well inside the box for Brandon Bye, who crossed back for the star striker. Bou sent a low shot toward the lower right-hand corner, netting his ninth of the season and lifting him to third place in the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race.
Montréal cut their deficit to one with 11 minutes left in regulation thanks to attacking midfielder Djordje Mihalovic. The Revs' defense left the ex-Chicago homegrown all alone along the edge of the box and, found by Joaquin Torres, Mihailovic's near-post strike beat Brad Knighton to give Montréal hope.
New England fans had cold sweats until the very end, watching their team defend a slim one-goal lead. Sunusi Ibrahim came inches from an equalizer when the Nigerian youth international tried to channel Bou's ambitious striking ability in stoppage time. Ibrahim curled a powerful shot from distance, but his effort shaved Knighton's left goal post.
- THE BIG PICTURE: New England had lost three important players — Matt Turner, Henry Kessler and Tajon Buchanan — to international duty, as well as Adam Buksa and Jon Bell to injury during the game. Fortunately for the Revs, two Gustavo Bou goals still gave them the win to maintain Bruce Arena's team's place as the East's firm frontrunners. Montréal tried to force a draw in the final minutes of the match, but their efforts were in vain. Despite the loss, Wilfried Nancy's squad can remind themselves of a tight affair with the Eastern Conference leaders on the plane ride back to Canada.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: After being found offside on a goal by Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou redeemed himself with a goal of his own just a few moments later. Not only that, the Argentine also assured that Revs fans would be talking about his AT&T Goal of the Week candidate for some time to come.
GOAL: Gustavo Bou, New England Revolution - 29th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: New England were missing players on Sunday evening, but they certainly weren't missing Gustavo Bou. The 31-year-old Argentine solidified himself as one of the premier attackers in MLS with a two-goal performance that gave his squad the victory.
- NE: Saturday, July 31 at New York Red Bulls | 6 pm ET (MLS Live on ESPN+)
- MTL: Saturday, July 31 at Inter Miami CF | 8 pm ET (TSN1, TVA Sports, MLS Live on ESPN+)