FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After 270 minutes of league play, Teal Bunbury and his New England Revolution teammates are still searching for the right tempo, as the Revs (who ranked seventh in goals scored last season) remain one of only two teams in MLS who have yet to score this season. To make matters worse, the league's other scoreless squad, D.C. United, has only played two games.
The Revolution's scoring woes add to a personal drought for Bunbury, who arrived from Sporting Kansas City via an offseason trade and has not scored a league goal since August 11, 2012, although he has played only 588 minutes in that time due to the torn ACL he suffered later that month.
Trying to return to his old form this year, Bunbury did find the net in two of New England's final three preseason games at the Desert Diamond Cup. The rangy frontrunner has earned rave reviews from his new colleagues while the Revs seek the final passes that will lead to scoring success.
“I think Teal has done excellent,” head coach Jay Heaps told reporters on Wednesday. “Right now it’s a matter of continuing to get familiar with each other. How is he going to play with guys like Lee [Nguyen], Kelyn [Rowe], Daigo [Kobayashi], [Steve] Neumann? How are those guys going to connect to each other centrally? And then the players wide, with Saer [Sene] and Diego [Fagundez].”
After playing every minute thus far for New England, Bunbury is hopeful he can continue adapting to a significantly different playing style than the one he knew in Kansas City. He expects to display a fuller understanding of the Revs' array of creative midfielders when they visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“It’s just trying to get on the same page with all the players,” Bunbury told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Completely understanding where Kelyn likes to play balls … and also Lee likes to play those balls in behind, and knowing when to make runs. It’s just little details that, I think that if we get those sharp leading up to this week against San Jose, I think the goals will start coming for us.”
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Having finally put his long-running injury nightmares behind him, Bunbury stands as the Revolution’s main weapon up top. He’s trying to keep a clear head, even as pressure continues to mount for New England to find the back of the net.
“It’s really just the mentality,” Bunbury said. “I know personally, I’m trying to take it upon myself, playing that center forward role, my job is to score goals. I’m feeling good. It’s only three games in, we have 31 more games, and I know that the goals are going to come for us.”