It wasn’t terribly surprising to see Revolution captain Jose Goncalves revert to his stoic persona only moments after he wildly celebrated his game-winning goal against the Crew on Saturday.
Gone was the wide-eyed elation and the jubilant smile that had stretched across his face. The moment was brief, and that’s just the way the captain likes to keep it, even after he carried his club to a 2-0 victory.
“For me, it’s very important that we won the game -- the three points are what’s most important,” Goncalves told the media after Saturday’s game. “It doesn’t matter how it happened. It’s over, we learn from our mistakes, and we have to keep going because there are only so many points we can take in this league -- this is what I do every day.”
Only three days prior to Saturday’s win, the center back inadvertently broke a 1-1 draw in Colorado by deflecting a Dillon Powers pass into his own net. It was a rare miscue for one of the best defenders in the league, but a costly one.
So on Saturday, Goncalves came out of the gate ready to put that embarrassing scene behind him. He was ready to take charge, and did so throughout.
He bottled up Dominic Oduro and kept the Crew attack, which had scored a league-high six goals in the opening 15 minutes during league play this season, off the board. And when the opportunity presented itself, he pushed forward and hit a shot that whistled just inside of the near post late in the first frame.
“He wanted to win this game and you could tell,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told reporters after the game. “I thought he did a nice job defending, but the other night he dove in, not something he normally does and I knew he was carrying this team tonight.”
Even though he put together one of his best performances in a Revolution uniform, Goncalves' evening wasn’t complete until he effectively erased the memory of the own goal.
“He was due for one,” Nguyen said after the game. “I was waiting because we’ve been working on [the set piece] throughout the year and it was just one of those things where he had the timing down and was in the right place. Jose got his head to it and it fell down and fell our way. We were fortunate to get the bounce our way, but either way, it was a great goal.”
He immediately raced over to the Revolution bench, jumping wildly with starters and reserves alike. It was a side of Goncalves rarely seen -- overcome with emotion, with the steely gaze and demeanor cast aside, even if only for a passing moment.
It was more than just a goal celebration. It was a release. A release of the heavy burden he carried into the game, fairly or unfairly. His club had lost three days before, and his own goal was the reason why.
Saturday was about redemption for Goncalves, and he claimed it in grand fashion, even though he may not have shown it after the match.
“I think for Jose, more important for him, was the zero tonight,” Heaps said. “The way he defended, the way he played all night, and then to get the winner was a special thing for him.”