PROVIDENCE, R.I.—As Teal Bunbury gave his postgame interview 628432865" tabindex="0">on Wednesday night, the chorus rang down from New England Revolution supporters’ groups 628432866" tabindex="0">Midnight Riders and The Rebellion.
“Not blue, not green, he’s somewhere in between. He’s Teal!”
It was a welcomed scene for the New England attacker, who scored a goal and helped setup another at Providence College in what was ultimately a 3-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round.
“I feel like my confidence is always there, but it’s great to score goals,” Bunbury said. “I want to contribute, whether it’s assisting or scoring goals. But it definitely feels good to get a full, 90-minute game in. I haven’t played much of late, so I’m trying to do everything I can in training, and when I get my opportunity, make the most of it.”
As Bunbury mentioned, he’s struggled to leave a mark on the Revs’ 2017 campaign, failing to register a goal or an assist in nine appearances, all from the bench. Thrust into a reserve role, Bunbury said he hopes to parlay his Open Cup exploits into more MLS playing time.
“For me, I want to play every minute of every game, and that’s the way I train,” Bunbury said. “When I get my chance, I try to make the most of it, but I know it’s very competitive. That brings out the best in everybody.”
An increased workload for Bunbury ultimately rests in the hands of head coach Jay Heaps, but the Minnesota native boosted his case on Wednesday, playing wide right against Rochester. A target winger during his earlier days, Bunbury has predominantly played up top this year in the Revs’ 4-4-2 diamond formation.
Whichever spot comes his way, Bunbury certainly caught the eye of Heaps.
“I think Teal keeps going,” Heaps said. “For me and the entire team, Teal is right on the cusp and continues to push. He’s someone we need as we continue through this stretch.”
Heaps will no doubt have to rotate his squad a bit in the coming weeks, as Wednesday’s match kicked off a three-week stretch in which the Revs will play six matches across all competitions. Bunbury said he hopes the busy schedule can help kick start the Revs, perhaps igniting another deep Open Cup run for the 2016 tournament runner-ups, for whom Bunbury hopes to play a pivotal role.
“This is huge not just for me, but for other guys who might not be getting a lot of opportunities and minutes in regular season play,” Bunbury said. “Like I’ve said, we have a deep enough team that we could win this whole thing. That’s our motivation.”