It’s been a year of adjustments for Teal Bunbury, who joined the New England Revolution on February 19 after four seasons with Sporting KC. Bunbury was originally brought in as a center forward but was later relocated to the wing, a move that required some education.
“Playing out wide is a different role, a different mindset,” Bunbury explained. “I feel that I’ve come a long way. There are always things I’m learning and asking questions about, but I’m feeling very comfortable out there.”
Bunbury’s quick acclimation period hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates. Charlie Davies recently told Bunbury that the first leg against the Columbus Crew was the “best I’ve seen him play.” Davies complimented Bunbury’s solid positioning and calm demeanor.
Throughout the season, Bunbury has used his speed to attack opponents while also developing his ability to hit a dangerous cross. A workhorse on the field, his best attributes on the wing might be his defensive prowess.
“He was huge for us defensively, which you really don’t expect from a forward basically playing on the wing,” Charlie Davies said. “He’s been great. Seeing him progress has made us stronger. The better he is, the better we are as a team.”
Bunbury’s success on the wing can largely be attributed to his open-mindedness and willingness to listen to head coach Jay Heaps.
On Sunday, Bunbury was asked to switch flanks with Kelyn Rowe midgame. More than a move that frustrated the Crew, the adjustment showcased Bunbury’s soccer smarts as he would set up the game’s opening goal in the 43rd minute.
With his natural talent, there’s limit to how much can Bunbury achieve, regardless of whether he’s playing on the wing or as a center forward. To find triumph, the former Generation Adidas player simply has to keep learning and believing in himself.
“What I always say is that he needs to trust in himself,” Jermaine Jones said. “He’s so fast in that league, I think there’s not so many players that can hold him when he’s concentrating.”
(image courtesy of Kari Heistad)