Teal Bunbury seems to be fitting in quite well with the New England Revolution and he hasn't lost his scoring touch despite spending a lot of time on the bench in Kansas City.
Bunbury opened the scoring with an impressive 25-yard laser into the far corner as the Revs and Colorado Rapids played out a 2-2 draw in both teams preseason finale in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tuscon, AZ.
Rain and wind plagued the game from the beginning and after Bunbury's early goal in the 5th minute, the weather conditions started to resemble the play on the field. But despite the conditions, the Revs were caught playing several lazy passes and other miscommunications that cost them their lead.
Donnie Smith played a pass deep in his own territory but Daigo Kobayashi either let the pass go thinking it was for someone else or the pressure forced Smith into a turnover. Either way, the Rapids counter attacked and despite making the initial save, Bobby Shuttleworth's parry went only as far as Edson Buddle who slotted home from close range.
The Revs continued to make poor passes and decisions going into halftime, Kevin Alston and Kobyashi again among those making the mistakes. But the Revs settled down and came out for the second half to ever worsening weather conditions on the field.
Patrick Mullins had a particularly strong overall game. He forced Rapids captain Drew Moor into giving away a dangerous free kick in the first half and he scored early in the second half to give the Revs another lead.
Kobayashi sent in a low, centering free kick from the right wing and the ball was redirected towards goal. After a bit of scrambling by Rapids keeper Clint Irwin, Mullins poked home for the 2-1 advantage. Charlie Davies replaced him on the field immediately after the goal for Davies' first minutes of preseason action.
But again the Revs couldn't hold the lead and again it was another rebound that Colorado pounced on. This time it was third keeper Luis Soffner who was forced into a save, only to have Vincente Sanchez take credit for the equalizer with O'Brian Woodbine also attempting to clear the ball at the same time.
The match ended with a pair of red cards to the Revs Dimitry Imbongo and the Rapids Marvin Chavez. Imbongo fouled Chavez near midfield and Chavez responded by kicking out at Imbongo who in turn responded by stamping his foot on or near Sanchez. Both players were immediately dismissed by referee Jair Marrufo.
Revolution fans remember all to well that red cards plagued the first half of Imbongo's season, drawing three red cards to lead MLS last season. But a strong second half had him penciled in for the starting spot going into 2014 but with the arrival of Bunbury it seems unlikely that he'll be starting and will have to battle for minute off the bench.
Overall, there were some positive individual performances for New England, particularly in the attacking front. Diego Fagundez and Bunbury seem to have a established a quick relationship as well as Kelyn Rowe and Mullins. Both partnerships created a lot of bright moments, including one attack with a beautiful ball from Diego to Bunbury that felled by Bunbury's footing at the top of the area.
On the negative side, despite the conditions, several of the Revs were caught making lazy passes on the muddy field and that directly led to a Rapids goal. Donnie Smith had an up and down day has he adjusts to his new left back position and Kobayashi showed some growing pains of joining a new team. The defense overall wasn't bad but it also lacked three starters with A.J. Soares the only regular to start in the preseason finale.
The Revolution begin their 2014 MLS regular season next Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.