New England Revolution

3 takeaways as Carles Gil’s goal highlights Revolution’s comeback win over D.C. United

Held in check for the first 60 minutes, New England came alive to mount yet another comeback.

Carles Gil
Carles Gil celebrates scoring the go-ahead goal against D.C. United. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The Revolution extended the team’s latest unbeaten run to eight games by mounting a dramatic second-half comeback in a 3-2 win over D.C. United on Wednesday.

All three of New England’s “Designated Players” scored in a 20-minute span to reverse what had been a lackluster performance until the 61st minute. In the end, goals from Adam Buksa, Carles Gil, and Gustavo Bou — plus some timely defending and goalkeeping — proved just enough to escape Audi Field with a win.

It was the Revolution’s sixth victory by a 3-2 scoreline in 2021, underlining the team’s resilience, but also its occasional capacity to not fully put opponents away.


Here are a few takeaways from a wild night:

The 0-0 halftime score was fortunate for the Revolution.

Over the first 45 minutes of the game — and extending for approximately the first 15 minutes of even the second half — the Revolution were second best to United in most ways.

Not only did the home team outshoot New England, they allowed precious little time for Gil to get comfortable in possession.

United midfielder Felipe man-marked Gil wherever he went, following him relentlessly and preventing the Spanish playmaker from having his usual influence on the game.

The hosts pressed the Revolution across the rest of the field as well, creating turnovers that turned into quick counterattacks.

“A sloppy game on our part,” noted Bruce Arena. “I think we were outplayed in the first half.”

It wasn’t the first time in 2021 that New England goalkeeper Matt Turner was called upon to make several important saves, preserving the shutout in the first half.

The game’s opening goal had an ironic effect.

After forward Nigel Robertha eventually scored for United in the 51st minute at the end of yet another counterattack, the dynamic of the game changed.

Interestingly, it was United taking the lead that may have triggered the shift towards the Revolution finally gaining a foothold. Whether it was a tactical change from a hard-press to a more conservative defensive formation, or possibly just fatigue after an hour of intense exertion, United were unable to sustain their defensive tempo.


“They scored the goal, and I think the circumstances of the game kind of changed at that moment,” said Revolution midfielder Tommy McNamara afterward. “They changed a little bit what they were trying to do, and I think it allowed us to kind of express ourselves more and then the game opened up for us. I’m not sure why on their end, maybe they put so much into it they started getting tired, so from our side of things we needed to keep ourselves in the game until that happens, and it did. And the game opened up and then we had more time and more space for our quality to come through.”

Within 10 minutes, Buksa nodded in the equalizer on a cross from McNamara. The game continued to tilt New England’s way after that.

Carles Gil added a signature goal to his MVP resume.

New England’s go-ahead goal came from its most influential player, and was indicative of the shift the game underwent in the latter stages of the second half.

After being held in check by Felipe’s tight marking, Gil began finding space as the second half progressed. And in the 64th minute, he scored one of his best goals since joining the Revolution in 2019.


Receiving a square pass from Bou at the top of the box, Gil faked a shot on his right foot that sent multiple United defenders sliding in the wrong direction. Cutting back onto his left foot, Gil took an extra touch before curling his shot into the far corner of the goal.

Given not only the skill involved in the goal but also the context and timing, it only adds to Gil’s MLS MVP case.

“In the second half, I changed my position because of the one-v-one defense against Felipe,” Gil explained. “I was on the right. I tried to get my space and with the left [foot], you know.”

As has become a customary habit for New England, the game retained its drama until the final whistle — which occurred after a seemingly inexplicable eight minutes of stoppage time — thanks to a 93rd-minute goal from United that again made it a one-goal game.

But the Revolution held on, and are now just two points away from clinching the club’s first ever Supporters’ Shield (given to the MLS team with the best regular-season record). The busy schedule continues, with a Sunday (7:30 p.m.) matchup against Orlando City coming up next.

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