The New England Revolution got their first win of the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday when they downed the Houston Dynamo 2-1. Teal Bunbury led the way with a goal and assist while Erick Torres grabbed a goal on the other end. So, what did we learn as the regular season looms? Here are some thoughts.
1. Let’s see more of Teal Bunbury as a lone striker. Revolution fans hadn’t even digested the second half lineup before Bunbury chipped the keeper for the night’s opening goal. Approximately 20 minutes later Bunbury played helper as he offered a square pass to Steve Neumann. The 25-year-old’s work on wing over the last two seasons makes it easy to forget that he was originally a forward. With his raw speed and determined attitude, Bunbury could be in line for some more minute up top. He would particularly be effective in providing high-pressure defense and sneaking behind the back line. Bunbury will likely still get the bulk of his minutes on the peripheries, but playing him elsewhere shouldn’t be out of question, especially if he’s producing goals.
2. Sambinha is still adjusting. Houston’s only goal of the night came off a mistake from the Portuguese center back. Sambinha’s heavy touch off a back pass allowed a Houston player to pounce. From there it was a formality. It wasn’t a good moment for the loanee, but no one should panic yet. After all, Jose Goncalves had some shaky moments during his first preseason matches and he went on to be named MLS Defender of the Year. It takes time to adjust to MLS and there shouldn’t be too much pressure for Sambinha to produce right away.
3. Scott Caldwell is so calm, so good. We got the first glimpses of Caldwell playing alongside Gershon Koffie and everything looked fine. The duo was steady while patrolling the midfield. Both players made a few crucial tackles and worked hard to keep the ball moving. Caldwell in particular was impressive, as always. The reigning team MVP simply puts himself in good positions and has a keen sense of where the ball should go next. It’s too early to tell if the new pairing will work, but you have to have confidence that Caldwell will keep things running smoothly.