Teal Bunbury: Unlikely Hero For New England Revolution In Conference Championship


The New England Revolution brought down the house on last Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena by defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the opening leg of the Eastern Conference championship. With this win, New England is just one game away from making the 2014 MLS Cup. The series heads back to Foxboro on Saturday and expectations are through the roof for Revolution supporters.

Teal Bunbury turned in a world-class performance against the Red Bulls on Sunday. Scoring the game’s first goal in the 17th minute. Bunbury received a pass from Jermaine Jones on the right side of the field just outside the 18-yard box, cut hard into the middle and fired a curling, left-footed rocket into the far post, leaving New York goalkeeper, Luis Robles absolutely helpless. It was one of the best goals in recent MLS Playoffs history, if not one of the best all-time.

"“I was fortunate enough to be matched-up one on one, my left foot is not my strong foot, but I feel like I took it well” stated Bunbury in his post-game interviews."

The former Sporting Kansas City forward went all 90 minutes for New England. Bunbury added a perfectly placed assist to Jones in the 85th minute to steal a late game-winner on enemy soil. When the Revolution needed Bunbury most, his presence on the field truly shined through.

"“I’m just very happy with the result we got. It was a crazy hectic game for everybody. I keep telling everybody that it was like a track meet, back and forth and back and forth” said Bunbury."

The man of the match was not wrong in his feelings about the game. New York dominated ball control for a majority of the game finishing with a 61-39% breakdown in possession. New England only led the Red Bulls four times in possession, but never could string together enough passes to mount anything serious for more than five minutes at a time.

Coming into last weeks match, New England knew one thing, without consistent play from their midfield, there was no chance to keep up with the Red Bulls high-octane attack. Thankfully, the midfield, which accounted for both Revolution goals, showed up in full force and gave New York an incredibly difficult time all match long.  Albeit, the Revolution did not dominate possession, the club did just enough to capture two crucial away goals.

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Fans know soccer is a sport of seconds. Anything can happen at any given second. With New England, there were only four shots placed on goal all game, while New York rained down seven on target and 18 total for the match. New England’s key players in the midfield, Lee Nguyen, Bunbury and Jones combined for both of the Revs goals Sunday.

With time winding down, Nguyen took a perfectly placed pass from defender Chris Tierney, ran at the Red Bulls defense hard, and snuck a pass inside the box through the defense to Bunbury who took a touch a slotted it perfectly across the box to a wide open Jones who tapped it home.

New York players raised their hands in protest to Jones possibly being offsides, but the signal never came. Jones scored the game-winning goal with just five minutes remaining.

New England moves onto the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against the Red Bulls, carrying a 2-1 advantage. Thanks to Bunbury and Jones, the Revolution have a terrific shot at making the 2014 MLS Cup final. Bunbury truly is an unsung hero for the Revolution.