In his second full season with the Revolution, Teal Bunbury is proving to be a consistent player that head coach Jay Heaps can count on to provide both leadership and production to one of the best teams in MLS. In Sunday’s rainy contest against Los Angeles at Gillette Stadium - a rematch of last season’s MLS Cup won 2-1 by LA in overtime - Bunbury started at midfield in New England’s temporary 4-5-1 (four defenders, five midfielders, one forward) formation. Defender Chris Tierney and midfielder Lee Nguyen each had to sit out for the Revs after accumulating too many yellow cards in previous matches and the Revs needed someone to step up. Bunbury opened the scoring with a skillful goal in the fifth minute - New England’s fastest of the season - and played the entire 90-plus minutes as the Revs (5-3-6) settled for a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy (5-4-6).
“Teal was really good tonight, he created pressure,” noted Heaps.
Bunbury’s goal was his third of the season and it occurred after a great cross by midfielder Scott Caldwell. Bunbury was on the other side of LA’s net and he ran onto the ball before one-touching it past Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who wasn’t able to get across in time.
Bunbury is only 25-years-old but is playing in his sixth MLS season after being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 SuperDraft by Kansas City. He was traded to Foxboro in February 2014 for New England’s first round pick in 2015 and allocation money. His father, Alex, actually played in MLS (for KC as well) and on the Canadian National Team while Teal won the Hermann Trophy (college soccer’s Heisman) in his sophomore season at the University of Akron before turning pro.
Like his New England teammates, Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo (who earned another callup on Sunday for the U.S.’ upcoming friendlies at Holland and Germany), Bunbury got some U.S. National Team experience at a young age and now he’s trying to work his way back into the fold under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. A groin injury to another Revolution teammate, Jermaine Jones, could actually be a good thing in terms of Bunbury's individual game. He’ll be counted on even more for New England if Jones misses a significant amount of time.
The Revs are still comfortably in second-place in the East (four points behind D.C.) but they have bigger goals in mind than just a regular season crown. To get where they want to get, Bunbury and the Revs need to be able to close.
“We have these 10-minute periods where we let games get away (LA scored both of its goals nine minutes apart in the first half),” explained Bunbury. “We need a killer instinct, meaning we put teams away and not let them think that they can stay with us.”