FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – During a summer 2017 stretch of six goals in eight games, Teal Bunbury’s answer for what clicked was simple: more playing time.
Now, amid a run of three goals in four games, the New England Revolution forward’s answer bears a different tenor. Bunbury says it comes down to coach Brad Friedel trusting him at Bunbury's preferred center forward spot, rather than his role switching between central and wide positions under previous Revs coach Jay Heaps.
“It’s trying to be consistent, it’s buying into the system we’re playing, it’s working hard in training,” the 28-year-old said of his red-hot form.
Along the way, he’s beaten out big-contract forwards in US international Juan Agudelo and Hungarian international Krisztian Nemeth for the starting role. It’s a strong vote of confidence from Friedel, all in a high-press system where an industrious player like Bunbury has thrived.
GOAL: Teal Bunbury slides the equalizer off the post and in
“That isn’t just because he’s an industrious player,” Friedel said. “That’s a clever run with timing.”
Bunbury says he's been motivated by his growing family. His wife Kaity gave birth to a baby girl named Sienna during the offseason. She’s now 6 months old, leading to some sleepless nights.
“It’s an an extra edge knowing I’m not only playing for myself, but for my wife and daughter as well,” Bunbury said.
The then-Kansas City Wizards drafted Bunbury out of Akron in 2010. Even now, Bunbury says he has “all the respect” in the world for SKC head coach Peter Vermes, and is close with former teammates Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
“Outside of the game I’ll be friends with everyone, but during the game, time to work,” Bunbury said. “We’re playing at home, and my motivation is just going to be playing well for my team and hoping we can win.”