Stew Milne / USA Today Sports
Teal Bunbury was the match winner from the bench in the Revolution’s last victory, and today he started and scored the lone goal to give the Revolution an encouraging three points.
The New England Revolution need to start stringing some wins together if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs. After losing four straight in the MLS, the Revs bounced back to win two on the spin, against the Galaxy and the Union, but they were unable to defeat the Chicago Fire last Saturday and thus still find themselves in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. On the bright side, Revs striker Kei Kamara has finally found his goalscoring form, scoring four in the past three games. With Kamara, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, and Teal Bunbury all in the starting lineup tonight, New England will certainly have plenty of firepower going forward tonight.
The Whitecaps are slightly better off in the table than the Revolution, currently occupying 7th place in the Western conference, and they have been in decent form recently. In their past five matches, the Whitecaps beat high-flying New York City FC and FC Dallas, along with the LA Galaxy, tied Colorado, and lost to the Timbers. Striker Fredy Montero has been in good form, scoring three times in the past two games, and 16-year-old Canadian prodigy Alphonso Davies will start the match from the bench tonight. A win today would bring the Whitecaps level on points with 5th-placed Portland Timbers with the Canadian side having played 3 fewer games than the Timbers.
53′ Teal Bunbury (A: Kelyn Rowe)
The match started out fairly evenly, with both sides playing relatively cautiously and creating half chances here and there. With both teams not taking advantage of their corner kick opportunities in the opening fifteen minutes of the match, the only threats from either side were speculative efforts and team moves lacking the final ball. In truth, the majority of the first half of the match were quite bland. There were a total of 2 shots on target, set piece deliveries were generally poor, and both teams were unconvincing in possession and failed to manufacture any clear-cut chances. Teal Bunbury made some good incisive runs in behind the Whitecaps defense and Lee Nguyen orchestrated some decent attacking moves, but there was not much else to clap for from either team in the opening period. The Revolution faithful could not even get “the wave” to travel from one fan section to another, despite attempting to do so numerous times.
In the 53rd minute, the game got its first big chance, and it ended in a goal. Kelyn Rowe picked up the ball out wide and played in a perfect early ball to the center of the box in between the penalty spot and the six-yard-box. Teal Bunbury got in behind the defense once again with a well-timed run and fired home with his instep. It was an absolutely stunning ball from Rowe, and Bunbury will be pleased to add to his recent run of form with another important goal. The Whitecaps started to find some joy on the wings after the goal, and several decent crosses were put into the box for the forwards to challenge for.
In the 68th minute, the VAR system was used for the first time at Gillette Stadium, and the end result? The ball moved two yards forwards for a free kick. Shortly afterwards, Christian Techera rattled the crossbar with a sweetly struck free kick, and Cody Cropper’s head struck the post as he dove to try to tip the ball over the net. The Whitecaps continued to get closer and closer, and it started to feel like they were destined to score an equalizer. In the 79th minute, Vancouver brought on Alphonso Davies, who impressed at the Gold Cup with a joint-best 3 goals. Despite putting pressure on the Revs, however, Vancouver could not find the net, and the Revs walk away with a hard-earned three points.
Je-Vaughn Watson was employed as a left back tonight, as opposed to his usual role in the center of the park, and he put in a solid shift. The Jamaican was solid defensively and provided plenty going forward as well. However, he did pick up a yellow card, which means he will be suspended for the Revs’ next match.
Moment of the Match
Teal Bunbury has been gradually staking his claim in the starting lineup over the past couple weeks, and his goal tonight once again sealed a victory for the Revolution. Much of the credit must go to Kelyn Rowe for delivering a peach of a cross, but Bunbury still had some work to do to apply the finishing touch, and he did so calmly and precisely. Once again, he is the match winner.
In Their Words
“It was gonna take a special play, and Kelyn played an unbelievable ball into the box. I tried to time my run and he placed it perfectly.”
– Teal Bunbury
“Tonight, we really wanted [Teal Bunbury’s] pace. We wanted to be able to stretch their back line and find the gaps underneath.”
– Jay Heaps
“It’s not one guy that stepped up; it’s multiple guys, and that’s what was great about this win.”
– Kelyn Rowe
“Every game counts now, especially at home. We have to get maximum points at home.”
– Lee Nguyen
Overall, this was a relatively lackluster game from both sides and it was just the one moment of quality from Rowe and Bunbury that swung the result in favor of the home side. Next up for the Revs is an away match at New York City FC, and it has to be said that they’ll have to play better at Yankee Stadium than they did tonight to secure a favorable result in the Big Apple.