Podcast: Altidore, Revs and Manchester United

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Jozy Altidore after his fine start to life with Toronto FC, New England Revolution and where their 3-0 loss to Seattle leaves them and we also look at Manchester United and their chances on making the top four in the Premier League this season.

As always, be sure to leave your comments below or get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_.

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Teal Bunbury: We can win the MLS Cup

Teal Bunbury believes New England Revolution can win trophies in 2015 after an “unbelievable” first year with the club.

“The welcoming I got throughout the whole year just progressed and it was an unbelievable season. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was exciting and I’m still excited to this day to be part of the Revs,” said Bunbury while talking to the New England Revolution YouTube channel.

Bunbury joined the Revs after a four-year spell at Sporting Kansas City and chipped in with six goals and eight assists from his 35 appearances in all competitions.

The 24-year-old forward come winger is in a confident mood heading into the new season.

“I hope it’s just like last year, I want it to be a progression. I want to be able to give all I can on the field. And this year, I feel we can win the MLS Cup and Open Cup as well.”

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New England Revolution fell just short of winning their first ever MLS Cup in 2014 when they lost 2-1 to LA Galaxy after an extra-time winner from Robbie Keane in what was a pulsating final.

The Revs have now been to five MLS Cup finals and have failed to get over the line on every occasion, but Bunbury feels this New England side has the spirit to finally win that elusive title in 2015.

“When you’re a player it’s all about winning games, it’s about winning championships and that’s really what you play for. You obviously want do well individually, but as a team I feel this group of guys has the best chemistry I’ve seen on any team, through my club days when I was younger up until now.”

Can Teal Bunbury and the New England Revolution win the MLS Cup in 2015?

New England Revolution re-sign Teal Bunbury after impressive 2014 season

Teal Bunbury will be staying with the New England Revolution for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a new contract with the 2014 MLS Cup runners-up as his contract had ended at the turn of 2015.

Bunbury made more appearances with the Revs in 2014 (31) than in any of his previous four campaigns in Kansas City and recorded more assists (6) than in any of his previous seasons too and thrived as a winger.

He was a real factor in New England’s impressive playoff run to the MLS Cup Final as he played in all five games, scoring two and picking up two assists and he is hoping to build on a solid campaign with Jay Heaps and the Revs this year.

Teal Bunbury

Teal Bunbury was a star for the Revs in 2014

 

“As a player you always want to play somewhere where the organization wants you to be there,” he told mlssoccer.com. “I felt that [from New England] throughout this whole process.

“I want to be somewhere where I know what I’m going to get from the guys. I know that they’re going to be able to push me to be the best that I can be and vice versa. Knowing that we have unfinished business was definitely a factor for me.”

The unfinished business he is referring to was that MLS Cup Final loss to the LA Galaxy in extra-time and the Revs will hope to go one better come December this year.

Bunbury was an integral part of an exciting attacking Revolution side last year and expect them to be just as dangerous come the start of play this year.

How important is Teal Bunbury to the New England Revolution?

Should New England Revolution have protected Patrick Mullins?

As we all know, the New England Revolution were hit hard by the MLS Expansion Draft and have lost one of their brightest prospects in Patrick Mullins to New York City FC.

The forward almost single-handedly changed the MLS Cup Final when he entered the frame for Charlie Davies. And although the Revs lost in the end, Mullins showed what he is capable of with some good hold up play and created space to get other players in the game.

The 22-year-old netted four times in all competitions last term and although not prolific, he showed in glimpses the potential he has in his rookie season.

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When looking at their protected list ahead of the Expansion Draft, it is hard to look into who could have been substituted out to fit Mullins in as a protected player.

The two forwards who were protected, Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury, are both players who are a key part of the side and the Revs couldn’t afford to lose either of them.

New England Revolution protected players:

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth

Defenders: Kevin Alston – Andrew Farrell – Jose Goncalves – Chris Tierney

Midfielders: Jermaine Jones – Daigo Kobayashi – Lee Nguyen – Kelyn Rowe

Forwards: Teal Bunbury – Charlie Davies

The draft was hard on New England, but it would appear they had done as much as possible to cover themselves from losing key players and given the nature of the draft it just seems as if it was something they had to accept.

Mullins will learn a lot from his new teammates David Villa and Frank Lampard, and the move will continue to improve him as an up and coming young player.

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The service from Lampard and finishing ability of Villa are areas he will benefit from no end, and playing alongside the Spaniard will be particularly crucial for his development.

The Revs will no doubt be disappointed to see him go, but couldn’t afford to lose any top performing midfielders given that their preferred system is 4-2-3-1. Bunbury is a more rounded and versatile player than Mullins at this moment in time, and Charlie Davies is the main striker and is the one who can create the unexpected.

Do you think New England were right to leave Patrick Mullins unprotected for the Expansion Draft?

Thierry Henry calls for “composure” as Red Bulls look to respond against New England

Thierry Henry is set to play at Gillette Stadium for the first time in his career in what could be his final game. But he wants his New York Red Bulls teammates to remain calm as they look to overturn the 2-1 first-leg loss against the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference final.

The Revs have the advantage after Jermaine Jones‘ late winner at Red Bull Arena claimed the victory with two vital away goals as they took a major step towards the MLS Cup Final.

New York had responded well to Teal Bunbury‘s early wonder strike, and leveled the match through Bradley Wright-Phillips before dominating large parts of the game.

But they couldn’t get the second goal and a late Revs tap-in has left the Red Bulls in quite a predicament.

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“It’s a tough one but you just want to keep your composure and make sure you don’t go forward too early [in the second-leg] and keep your shape,” Henry told reporters after the defeat.

“We came back into the game and it looked like we were going to be the team that was going to score, and that’s how it is when you play these types of games.

“If it stayed 1-1 it wouldn’t have been that bad. Now it is a bad result.We’ve left ourselves in a situation where we need to go and make history at their place.”

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The 37-year-old has never played on an artificial surface since joining the Red Bulls in 2010 due to problems with his Achilles but he confirmed that he will play at Gillette Stadium for next week’s crucial clash.

“I’m playing. You happy?” Henry told the media after the game.

“The only thing is if my Achilles don’t last, then I will be on holiday if we don’t go through. I’m sure guys wouldn’t care if I can walk or not after that. That’s just the way it is.”

The Frenchman may be played in a more central role as Bradley Wright-Phillips is set to miss out after being booked in the first-leg for obstructing goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Will the Red Bulls be able to overturn the 2-1 deficit to make it to the MLS Cup Final?

Highlights of the first-leg (via MLS on YouTube):

Five things we learnt in New England’s attacking masterclass against Philadelphia

New England Revolution recorded their fourth successive win as they beat Philadelphia Union 5-3 on Saturday night, the Revs first ever win at PPL Park and they moved to the top of the Eastern Conference. Here are our takeaways from another thrilling MLS game.

 

1. New England are so effective on the counter-attack.

The Revs put on a counter-attacking show for the second week in a row, and scored five for the second time in a week as well. They picked up where they left off in last weekend’s 5-0 drubbing over the Seattle Sounders, soaking up Philadelphia pressure before hitting them on the break time and time again.

 

2. Teal Bunbury a key part of the Revs system.

Bunbury epitomises the counter-attacking tactics that the Revs deploy, as his pace is so devastating on the break. Bunbury is the man who will always look to get in behind, and with the likes of Lee Nguyen able to send passes over opposing defences, it will work more often than not. Bunbury can play on either win, or lead the line himself, and his ability was seen in the Revs second goal, as he made a diagonal run that the Union defence didn’t deal with before teeing up Diego Fagundez who slotted in.

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3. Philadelphia missed Maurice Edu.

The Union were unlucky to be two down so early on, as they were in control of the game but were not clinical enough, and paid for this. Maurice Edu’s presence in the middle of the park was missed, as he would have provided them with more stability and could have made the difference in the final third. The American midfielder would have got a foothold in the game and could have orchestrated Philly in such an open contest. Edu is with the USMNT at training camp in Stanford, but the Union will already be counting down to his return.

 

4. New England’s free-flowing attacking unit is a joy to watch and can hurt every team in MLS

New England have now scored 10 in their last two, and seem to only be improving in an attacking sense. They lead 5-1 in the second-half before Philly grabbed a couple of goals late on, and their attacking play is simply breathtaking at times.

The attacking unit of Patrick Mullins, Teal Bunbury and Diego Fagundez make it so difficult for opposing defences to mark, and with Lee Nguyen and Daigo Kobayashi making runs from midfield, it’s almost impossible to stop them. Nguyen is the man who makes everything tick, and is playing some excellent football but the attacking movement ahead of him must make it a joy to play at the moment. They are blitzing teams around the league at the moment, and will do the same to many more.

 

5. Sebastien Le Toux doesn’t miss penalties.

Philadelphia will be disappointed to have lost the game, but a positive is that they didn’t let their heads drop at 5-1 and battled back to finish the game 5-3. Sebastien Le Toux converted the final goal of the game from the penalty spot, continuing his 100% record from the spot in Philadelphia. He is now nine from nine as a Union player and can always be trusted from 12-yards out.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube:

 

Dorman shuts out Dempsey as New England stun Seattle

By Louis East

New England Revolution stunned the Seattle Sounders as they put on a show to stroll to a 5-0 win at the Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.

Going into the game, many expected it to be a tight contest, and Seattle were aiming to add to their five-game win streak.

Though it didn’t pan out as thought, with Seattle lethargical throughout, and the Revolution in their best attacking form of the season.

Clint Dempsey was returning to New England for the first time since leaving the club in 2006, and faced up against his former teammate in Welshman Andy Dorman.

Dorman and the Revs defence kept Dempsey and Obafemi Martins at bay, and kept a clean sheet against free-scoring Seattle, something no other team have been able to do this season.

New England manager, Jay Heaps, set his side out to absorb the Seattle pressure before hitting them on the counter-attack with their young attacking talents, and it worked perfectly.

The Revolution had less than 40% possession, but made it count as they punished the Sounders on the break time and time again.

Seattle started the game the brighter of the two, and should have been one up in the first five minutes, as Obafemi Martins headed into the hands of Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth with the whole goal to aim at.

New England made them regret that missed opportunity in the fourteenth minute, as Patrick Mullins opened the scoring with his second goal of the season, tapping in after Teal Bunbury’s effort had come back off the post, following an excellent cross from Chris Tierney.

Mullins was dangerous all night and added to the fine goal that he scored against Toronto FC last weekend, and the rookie is looking good.

Patrick Mullins

Not long after, New England made it two as Diego Fagundez collecting a fine ball from Tierney again, before beating Stefan Frei at his near post for his first goal of the season.

Seattle were in trouble, and it got worse as Bunbury made it 3-0 on thirty-five minutes, scoring from a tight angle after his initial shot was saved by Frei.

Seattle continued to get forward, but the Revs kept on punishing them on the break and they added a fourth before half time.

Fagundez added his second of the game with a great finish across Frei, after a great ball from Bunbury found him on the edge of the box.

The Sounders might have hoped to improve in the second-half, but those hopes were quashed less than a minute into the half, as New England made it 5-0 thanks to an own-goal.

Bunbury crossed the ball in from the right-hand side, but it deflected off of Chad Marshall and into the back of the net.

The result was settled, and the game slowed down in the second-half, with Dempsey having a couple of shots blocked by the resolute Revs defence as the Sounders tried to get on the scoresheet.

Two late efforts from Steve Neumann and A.J. Soares could have added to New England’s tally, but it finished 5-0, a result very few could have seen coming prior to the match.

Seattle were clearly affected by the long journey to Foxborough, as well as the fact that they had played a mid-week game, but take nothing away from the Revs who were brilliant.

They have now beaten Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Seattle in their last three and are looking a real threat as they moved joint-top of the Eastern Conference with Kansas City.

The Sounders still lead the Western Conference, but are just two points in front of Real Salt Lake who have played one game less.

Highlights via Major League Soccer’s YouTube channel: