FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When the New England Revolution spent a team-record $2 million to acquire Spanish attacking player Carles Gil this past offseason, the club believed he would add a dynamic dimension to the squad.
The Designated Player followed through on that assurance, making an instant impact in the Revs' season-opening 1-1 draw at FC Dallas last Saturday. He coolly slotted home a 57th-minute equalizer and applied defensive pressure during 90 minutes of rainy, raw conditions.
“When we are out looking for players, we spend a lot time trying to find the players that will work both sides of the ball,” said Brad Friedel, New England’s second-year coach. “There are a lot of gifted players that don’t work the other side of the ball, and you can’t have that in the game today.”
Gil arrived from Deportivo de La Coruña, then playing in Spain’s Segunda Division. He also has previous stops with Spanish clubs Elche and Valencia, plus Aston Villa during their time in England’s Premier League.
Speaking via a translator, the 26-year-old, who has been more a creator than a scorer throughout his career, credited his teammates for setting up his left-footed strike. Veteran center back Jalil Anibaba crossed into the penalty area, and Antonio Delamea cushioned the lofted service back towards the penalty spot.
Gil took a quick touch and calmly deposited past FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez for his maiden MLS goal.
“I intended to get it off my foot as soon as possible, and I put it under the goalkeeper on the right side,” Gil said.
Friedel said that he doesn't want to get too excited by one goal from Gil. However, he added that players such as the Spaniard “get pictures in their head quicker than other players and are able to appear calm in situations.”
Strong debut aside, Gil said to adjust completely to MLS, which he dubbed a “physical league with strong play,” will take some time. Additionally, Gil will need to adapt to playing on the artificial turf surface at Gillette Stadium, starting with Saturday’s home opener vs. Columbus Crew SC.
“The truth is that it's been a while since I played on an artificial surface and it was when I was a little younger,” said Gil. “But we're training every day on that type of surface, so I think I'm going to be able to adapt very quickly.”