You’d be hard-pressed to find a player more humble than Teal Bunbury.
The New England Revolution attacker was named as the Desert Diamond Cup MVP on Saturday night after his team won the championship by defeating Columbus Crew SC 1-0. Moments after receiving the individual accolade, Bunbury was deflecting attention away from himself and towards his teammates.
"I don’t like personal things to be honest with you," Bunbury told local media on Saturday. "I’m mostly pleased with the guys. It’s been a tough preseason for us and we were able to get some results here and there, build as a team on and off the field, and I think we have a great chemistry going forward."
Going into preseason, Bunbury was engaged in a battle for playing time with the likes of Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, and Juan Agudelo. The wealth of midfield talent helps promote competition as each player wants to earn a spot in the starting XI for the season opener against the Houston Dynamo.
Bunbury certainly saw his stock rise as he scored in three consecutive games to end preseason. One of those goals was an equalizer while another was a game-winner in the Cup Final. Bunbury also had a game-winning assist.
Perhaps most impressive about Bunbury’s good run of form is that he’s done it from two different positions. Bunbury played as a winger, a position that he’s become accustomed to over the last two seasons, and as a striker, the position he originally played when he entered MLS. This flexibility is seen as a good thing by head coach Jay Heaps.
"I think Teal [Bunbury] has been great," Heaps said. "You talk about him as the MVP. He also scored goals from a lot of different places. He had them at center forward and [we] played him on the right wing. His versatility I like right now."
Bunbury, humble as ever, is happy to play wherever his coach tells him to. After all, it’s not about individual accolades for Bunbury. Instead, it’s about helping his team win, which hopefully means more hardware.
"The ultimate goal is an MLS Cup championship," Bunbury said. "But also we want to win the Supporters’ Shield, we want to win every game, we want to be a force to be reckoned with at home games in front of our fans, we want to go on the road and get results as well."