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Revolution v. Dynamo: Three thoughts

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It was a good night for Teal Bunbury and two more thoughts.

MLS: New York City FC at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday night. Here are three thoughts from the game.

1. Crstian Penilla is going to be the team’s MVP.

When Penilla first signed with the Revolution, head coach Brad Friedel said he was a “very exciting attacking player.” Four games into the 2018 season, the Ecuadorian has been better than advertised.

Currently sitting on one goal and three assists, Penilla has made appearances on the score sheet for every game, save for the opener when he was removed in the 27th minute due to Antonio Delamea’s red card. Penilla has incredible pace and is crafty on the ball. I’m perhaps most impressed by the discipline he exhibits when he stays wide. For years, the Revs’ attacked relied on midfielders that want to cut inside. The change that Penilla brings has proven to be effective so far.

2. Revs weathered a rough first 15 minutes.

After the first stanza of the game, I was predicting a Revs loss but then came Teal Bunbury’s goal. The Revolution used their speed to create a fast break to punish a Dynamo team that had over committed to an attack. Soon after that, DeMarcus Beasley was shown a red card.

The first 15 minutes really highlighted how vulnerable the Revs are defensively. If the Dynamo’s finishing was better then the night would’ve been quite different. Even after the red card, the Dynamo were still creating chances, forcing Matt Turner to make save after save.

At the end of the day, the Revs did well to earn their first shutout of 2018 (this includes preseason games), but I’m still not 100% sold on the back line.

3. It was a good night for Bunbury

No player attracts more ire from Revs fans than Bunbury. Since joining the Revs in 2014, Bunbury has had both moments of brilliance and disappointment. Saturday was definitely the former, as the attacker was instrumental in the first goal.

Bunbury starts the play by tracking back and forcing a turnover in the Revolution’s defensive third. He then sprints forward, ultimately getting on the end of Penilla’s cross. It was the type of play that Bunbury is capable of when he’s playing his best.

Don’t get me wrong, Bunbury has his flaws. But it’s undeniable that he brings a lot of energy, which is needed for a team that wants to press and counter. It should be noted that Bunbury made way for Juan Agudelo in the 54th minute, likely a sign that competition is fierce between the two strikers.