Teal Bunbury had never scored a regular season penalty kick, but that didn’t stop him from grabbing the ball on Wednesday night.
In the dying moments of the game, referee Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot after Kevin Kratz initiated contact with Krisztián Németh. With the New England Revolution needing a goal to salvage a point, Bunbury volunteered his services. His reasoning was quite simple.
“I was feeling confident,” Bunbury said. “[Cristian] Penilla could have taken it, Diego [Fagundez] could have taken it, but I felt confident there.”
Bunbury calmly beat Brad Guzan to collect his seventh goal of the year. It was the same result that Bunbury had when he stepped up as a Sporting player in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals and as a USMNT player against Chile in that same year.
Although he hadn’t been in that position many times before, Bunbury knew he was the right man for the job. To get there, Bunbury waived off Nemeth, who said post-game, “Normally when I make the penalty, I never take it, so that’s my luck.”
Once he was one-on-one with Guzan, Bunbury only had one thing on his mind.
“Score,” Bunbury said. “You put the ball in the back of the net. You don’t really think about anything else for your team, to get a result. There’s a lot of guys that could have taken it, but I wanted to step up there and put it in the back of the net.”