While Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen have grabbed most of the national attention concerning the New England Revolution, it is important to note that a number of individual contributions lie at the crux of the Revs success. Teal Bunbury is one such example, as he played a vital role in the 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls this weekend.
Since signing for the Revs over the summer from Sporting Kansas City, Bunbury has been nothing short of a revelation. The speedster was originally brought in to fill the void left by Juan Agudelo as the lone striker, but Bunbury found the transition difficult - often drifting too far out wide, failing to hold the ball up, at times erratic and overly shy on his way to goal. However, Jay Heaps never lost faith in the new signing and felt like the best way to utilize his speed, skill and power was to shift him out wide as a winger. Since that move, Bunbury has been one of the best players for the Revolution, and on Sunday at Red Bull Area, those traits were on full display.
In the 17th minute of the match, Bunbury took on a defender outside the box with a step-over, shifted the ball to his left foot, and then whipped a brilliant curling shot into the far post to open up the scoring. In the 86th minute the Revs broke forward with Lee Nguyen - who slipped a pass to Bunbury on the right wing, who then crossed the ball across the face of the goal for an onrushing Jermaine Jones at the far post. His contributions though, extend beyond the two goals he played a part in. Bunbury was a tireless runner - crashing up and down the right wing and in addition to his offensive influence, he gave the Revolution a much-needed defensive presence. In a game when Thierry Henry dropped deep to receive the ball, Bunbury pressed high with the front line and did well to track runners throughout the 90-minutes.
For a player whose mindset at the start of the year seemed to be: "I LIKE TO RUN FAST. FAST. I RUN FAST," things have changed. Now, Bunbury is making intelligent runs, delivering accurate passes, and, much to the joy of the Revolution and its fan-base, has started to find the net. Expect Bunbury to continue to play a vital role in the Revolution's game plan and judging by the way he has been playing, he will surely deliver again.