FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sometimes a celebration tells it all.
That was certainly the case with Gonzalo Veron on Wednesday night, as he slid a 90th-minute game-winner under New England Revolution goalkeeper Cody Cropper, giving his New York Red Bulls a 3-2 road win over the Revolution in Gillette Stadium. After peeling to the corner flag, the Argentine winger raised his arms skyward, embracing teammate Alex Muyl with a roar.
It was like a sigh of relief, after the 27-year-old Designated Player showed that despite his up-and-down form in MLS, that he still can be a difference maker.
“It says a lot that we put him in that game at the end, because we still feel like he’s a guy who can make plays and is an important guy,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said of Veron. “For him personally, I know he cares about this team so much and for him to make a big play, I think he’s in a good way. It’s a proud moment for him.”
Since arriving in August, 2015 from San Lorenzo of the Argentine Primera Division, life’s hardly been rosy for Veron. He’s appeared in 44 games for New York, starting nine, and bagged five goals and four assists along the way.
They’re not huge numbers, but captain Sacha Kljestan insisted that Veron’s late strike isn’t a shocker.
“If you look at just his statistics based on minutes played, they’re pretty good,” Kljestan said. “He’s scored some big goals for us now. Last year in LA he scored a big one for us. We all know he’s a good player. I think he needs to find his way to adapt to the way that we play, and I always hope he gets more chances to play because he’s very talented.”
Indeed, Veron has a respectable performance in 2017, considering he's played in just eight games. He's managed a goal and an assist in 167 minutes played in those eight games.
And so, in a come-from-behind win in New England, where the Red Bulls got a spectacular goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips in the first half, then needed a successful penalty by Daniel Royer to get to a 2-2 tie, it was Veron who stole the show with his heroics.
“That’s why the emotions were so high – we know he’s been battling the ups and downs of making that transition,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “Look, we believe in the guy and we know he’s capable of changing the game. What he was able to do tonight, for us, at least, from what we see in practice, he should be able to do that in each and every game that he comes into.”
Outside of Veron’s performance, there were several other notable moments for Marsch’s side. With two games in hand, they are now two points out of a playoff spot. They also have a 4-1 record in their last five competitions across all contests and have now won back-to-back road games.
And, more subtly, Marsch now holds the record for most regular-season wins by a Red Bulls coach, with a 42-27-17 record. He’s also now 6-4 against the Revs.
“More than anything, I want to take the opportunity to thank the club,” Marsch said. “The belief that people in this club have had for me and the support I’ve had has been incredible. I’ve never, as a player or a coach, been anywhere been supported so much.”