The newest member of the Revolution's forward line is Teal Bunbury. The Revolution signed the Canada-born, US-international on Wednesday from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for a first-round pick in next year's draft and an undisclosed sum of allocation money.
The acquisition gives the Revolution a proven, dynamic forward in Bunbury, 23. The move could also serve as a replacement for Juan Agudelo, who departed New England in the early winter for Europe.
Bunbury was one of Kansas City's best players, but was really not part of the core group that helped the team win the MLS Cup last year. He was sidelined in Aug. 2012 with a torn ACL and only returned to the starting lineup last June. After coming back from the injury, Bunbury was mostly a bench player and made just three starts.
On a Kansas City team that was chock full of classy, attacking players, Bunbury was forgotten. The injury, being longterm, gave other talents the opportunity to rise to the occasion and establish themselves as legitimate starters. That happened and Bunbury found himself, to his misfortune, out of a starting position.
Enter the Revolution, who have been on the lookout for new forwards. On paper, Bunbury is a reliable player. Prior to his injury, he earned four appearances with the US national team, scoring in a 1-1 tie against Chile in a friendly match in Jan. 2011. During that time, Bunbury was a regular fixture at the club level, too.
He found his way to Kansas City as the fourth overall selection in the 2010 draft. He scored five goals in 25 games his rookie year, upped his contributions to 11 goals in 32 games in 2011, but then had his output truncated to just five goals in 2012 because of his injury.
There is always the chance that a torn ACL permanently changes a player's quality. But this doesn't appear to be the case with Bunbury. For one, he was still used as a depth piece and off the bench last season. Kansas City was also only willing to part with him for a high price (a first round pick isn't something to give away). Meanwhile the Revolution, who have been aware and committed to adding a capable attacking piece, will have vetted and evaluated Bunbury's form.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps has always valued intra-league acquisitions. Players such as Agudelo, Clyde Simms, Paolo DelPiccolo, and Brad Knighton are some of the pieces Heaps has added from elsewhere in MLS. For Agudelo and Simms, changing scenery to New England was a good move. Both contributed positively for the team and improved their stock.
Bunbury could be in for a similar track now that he's looking to re-establish himself with a team that's hungry for his talents. He's a speedy, dynamic player that can run at opposing defenses and be a target on set pieces.
Heaps said at the beginning of preseason that he and staff never stop looking for ways to improve the team. The attack was the biggest area of focus for the team this offseason in the wake of losing Agudelo. Signing Bunbury won't necessarily solves all the problems, though it's a start.
This is the team's first transaction since signing Charlie Davies on Jan. 9 (not including the draft picks). The club will probably continue to look at other players to strengthen the attack, including a slew of trialists who have been in and out of preseason camp.
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