24 Under 24: #20 Teal Bunbury, Sporting Kansas City

24 Under 24 (2012): #20 Teal Bunbury (IMAGE)

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

20. Teal Bunbury

Pos: FW | Sporting Kansas City | Age: 22

Just when his season seemed to be catching fire, Bunbury’s 2012 will be remembered most for being cut short by an ACL tear on August 26. After winning his starting spot back, Bunbury was eager and full of enterprise in a season of slow progress for him after finishing No. 5 in the 24 Under 24 rankings last year. However, his No. 20 finish is a confirmation of the high hopes that still follow him.

What TDs and coaches like: "Physically gifted, with power, strength and speed ... Good right foot ... Really talented kid. A ton of goals for his age ... He's been more effective than people think he has been ... He takes a lot of chances to get his goals ... Physically can dominate a game which is unusual at that young an age ... In the last 4-5 games he had come into form … I see some much of his father in his game. Posting up. Holding players off. He can spin on the turn. When he gets going his pace is good. Long strides ... He's very physical which is hard for defenders to handle ... He's one of the players when I've gone overseas that club's ask about him … He's one of those guys he's going to go hard for balls in the box and he's going to be a little bit physical but he has quality in his play, too ... I always felt before if Teal didn’t score or wasn’t dangerous, then he didn’t have an impact on his team. Now he’s actually doing the job. That’s a good sign of a player growing up."

Where TDs and coaches want to see improvement: "Still raw, needs to improve his sense of moving within the game, coming underneath the defenders and keeping them guessing... Needs to improve timing off the ball and his heading in the box ... If he comes back healthy, before his injury he's a guy who can get eight to 12 goals a season ... Has athletic gifts to play but still needs to get smarter ... I think mentally he’s got to get stronger."

Opta Says: Only three players under 24 have more touches in the opponent’s box (72) than Teal Bunbury this season (Bruin 108, Shea 81, Castillo 78).

Tale of the Tape
Last Year in 24U24: #5
Fan Ranking: #7
Castrol Index (as of 9/10/12): #51

2012 Stats
Matches played: 22
Matches started: 14
Goals: 5
Assists: 1

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