It might be hard to believe but Saturday was the first time that Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, and Charlie Davies were all members of the starting lineup for the New England Revolution. The attackers made the most of the opportunity, helping the Revs to a 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake.
The creativity of the front three was on full display as quick passing and tricky backheels became the norm at Gillette Stadium. There was a clear chemistry in the attacking third, which made life difficult for RSL's makeshift backline.
"We found each other, we knew exactly where to exploit them," Davies explained. "I think it’s great when the first time we play together and we have so much chemistry on the first game."
A large part of the team’s success on Saturday has to do with the relationships being built away from the pitch. For the team, it’s about finding the right balance between lightheartedness and intense focus.
As Davies recounted achievements of the night with local media, Steve Neumann was there to distract him by playing music on his phone. This type of moment is commonplace in the Revolution locker room, creating a fun and open atmosphere.
"We all genuinely like each other," Davies said. "We’re always hanging out together off the field which is rare for a team when you have so many guys hanging out together on off days."
Bunbury, Agudelo, and Davies were able to bring their off-the-field chemistry to the field on Saturday night. Davies is hopeful that the attacking trio stays intact for future games, saying that "it’s crazy to think of how we’ll be come the end of the season with us playing together." Still, he knows that there's plenty of competition waiting in the wings.
With a roster that includes a plethora of attacking weapons, the Revolution’s starting lineup could change week to week. Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe, who were on the bench at kickoff this weekend, were starters earlier this year and could probably break into the XI of most MLS teams.
With this in mind, head coach Jay Heaps, a firm believer in competition, isn’t ready to commit to a regular set of starters.
"There’s no settling," Heaps stated. "I thought Diego and Kelyn came in and for me there’s never going to be a settle. It’s going to be who can push who to play and not only that but, what does the matchup look like."