By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Although their shock fourth round exit in the U.S. Open Cup has Sporting Kansas City fans feeling extra blue, they can take at least one positive away from Wednesday night’s loss to Orlando City.
Forward Teal Bunbury made his first appearance since last August in the loss, coming in for Jacob Peterson in the 76th minute.
Although the 23-year old, who has been out for these last 10 months with an ACL injury, was “bummed out” following the defending champions’ close home loss, he said the appearance is a big deal for him mentally in the comeback process.
The Canadian-born Bunbury has made four appearances for the U.S. National Team with a goal on a penalty kick, against Chile in a January friendly. His recovery comes just in time for the second half of the season, where he should be key for a Sporting KC side that will be competing in MLS play as well as the CONCACAF Champions League.
Here are some more notes from around the Eastern Conference:
After missing a month of MLS and World Cup Qualifying matches, Houston center back Jermaine Taylor is targeting a return to action on June 19, when the Dynamo face Montreal.
“I think I’m at a nine right now,” Taylor told MLSSoccer.com. “I’m just trying to use the practice sessions and trying to get ready for the big one coming against Montreal. Overall, I think all the guys are ready to go to Montreal and do our best.”
Houston has started two different back lines in their last two MLS matches, each of which finished 1-1. Taylor believes more consistency in the back could help his team get out of its current winless slide in league play.
The Impact back line could be in even more trouble for their upcoming match with the Columbus Crew. While veteran Alessandro Nesta will miss Saturday’s road trip because of a red card, left back Dennis Iapichino could be out after missing training on Wednesday.
“Dennis Iapichino felt a little pain in the lower body and we will follow over the next two days,” assistant coach Mauro Biello said to TVA Sports. “This is our only left back at the moment, so we’ll be careful.”
NEW YORK RED BULLS
Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke did not hold anything back in his comments following his team’s 4-2 Open Cup loss to the New England Revolution, even going as far as calling the Revs “a mediocre team.”
“Fact is we lost to a mediocre team because we were way less than mediocre. It happens,’’ Petke said. “In the first half, it didn’t feel good. You could tell something was amiss.’’
Red Bulls general manager Andy Roxburgh joined in the post-match frustration by taking aim at the field conditions at Harvard University, where the Revs hosted their first match in Boston city limits.
“That was a lottery,” Roxburgh said. “That was primitive in the extreme. But what can you say? First of all the pitch is terrible, the environment wasn’t conducive, put it that way.”
Union head coach John Hackworth called for more consistency following his team’s 3-1 exit to struggling D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round.
“I don’t know if I’d call it complacency, but to put my finger on it I’d need a little bit of time to get away from it and to look back at the tape,” Hackworth said to Philly Soccer Page. “It wasn’t good enough. Our start and our mentality, which was so good against Columbus, was equally as bad tonight.”
Hackworth hopes the upcoming friendly with the Harrisburg City Islanders could help with some of the team’s issues, but he is more focused on the team’s consistency in competitive matches.
Though they won a crucial U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday, not everyone was smiling in the locker room.
Forward Chris Pontius, who has struggled all season to score and create goals but has been a starter nonetheless, was taken off at halftime with a suspected concussion. After the match, head coach Ben Olsen said there was no timetable yet for Pontius’ return.
“He told me he didn’t have a concussion. I’m not buying it for a second,” Olsen said to the Washington Post. “He didn’t look so hot so we’re going to get all the testing done.”
The 26-year-old has started 11 of the 13 games he’s played this season for D.C. United in all competitions.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution have had a successful past month, going unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions with a record of five wins and two draws.
One of the key components to the great run of form is the play of midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who is finally starting to blossom after scoring just three goals a year ago in 30 MLS appearances. Rowe’s two goals on Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls have given him five goals in his last four games played, three of them wins.
Clearly, his performances have been impressing Revolution head coach Jay Heaps.
“When he shoots in on goal, it’s usually going in,” Heaps said to the Boston Globe. “He’s got one of the best shots I’ve seen, right or left foot. He was fired up for tonight. Right from the open, his touch was on. His movement was good. His pressure was good. He had a nice night.”
Throughout the roster overhaul, Toronto FC have missed full back Richard Eckersley, who became a key starter midway through last-year’s forgettable season.
While Eckersley has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since early April, his team continue to drop points late in their matches, putting them ninth in the Eastern Conference and having won just one game all season.
“It feels very panicked,” Eckersley said to the Toronto Sun about the defending late in the game. ““It’s happened in the past as well. People blame the defense and say it isn’t good enough, but it’s the whole team.”
On the bright side, Eckersley said that he should be back in first team training in two weeks time, and potentially in the starting lineup come July.
What do you make of these notes? Glad to see Bunbury back? Think Petke and Roxburgh are having a bit of sour grapes? Do you see Pontius missing time with his injury?
Share your thoughts below.
I guess I’ll take being a “mediocre” team that plays youth instead of a team that overpays past their prime players that refuse to play games if they don’t like the surface and is named after an energy drink. #homer4life
PS: I don’t care who MLS tells me the Revs rivals are. I hate all New York sports teams. I’d love to get a rivalry going with NYCFC because of there Yankees ownership.
I’m with you and a total despise-ment for NY sports teams. When you think of NY sports clubs the Yankees are IT. Bring on NYCFC.
New Jersey was so bad that the NBA Nets moved to Brooklyn and now who do we lump NYRB with? Knicks, Nets, Devils, Jets (not Giants because they’ve won a championship lately) or better yet the NY Mets.
Don’t get me wrong, I think youth and speed can be very helpful, and a team can be too old. But TFC has a lot of people in their early or mid 20s and they stink. The Astros are one of the youngest teams in MLB, ditto.
A good young team can be real tough, a bad one can be a money-saving joke. I think it’s more of a factor to be considered in putting the team together, and I think if you get quality then youth serves well and will endure a season better than o30s.
Petke is a fool.
Even with their bad start to the season, the Revolution have–by far–the best defense in the league.
Revolution have conceded 9 goals in 14 games.
Red Bulls have conceded 19 goals in 16 games.
Revolution are 5 points below in the table with 2 games in hand and the Red Bulls have more losses!
Managers always try to downplay their team’s deficiencies and make excuses for a loss, but insulting another team’s quality is simply classless. Add in the fact that NY suffered a nice big loss, and it’s also foolish.
You realize he didn’t say NYRB were great right? Revs are mediocre and that wasn’t even their best team. Losing to them was embarrassing.
The Revs beat Houston in BBVA, which is hard to do. The thing holding back NE right now is offense, they’re allowing less than 0.75 GA/game, which is outstanding and best in league. If the offense ever catches up they will be a force to be reckoned with, and as is they may be a playoff spoiler if they can move up. Hard to beat a team in a series you can barely score on.
I feel a bit bad that Bunbury chose the US over Canada, doubt he will fit into our strikers plans long term but you never know I suppose.
FWIW, Teal isn’t cap-tied to the USMNT and theoretically could file his one-time switch to represent Canada. There’s no indication at all that he would, though, and as he recovers his form, I could see him making B-team squads (ie, for the 2015 Gold Cup) pretty easily. He’s still only 23, after all.
Bunbury is strong and fast, but he’s terrible with the ball at his feet. His touch on the ball is awful and doesn’t read the game well.
Until he proves himself at the MLS level, he doesn’t deserve to be in the national team discussion.
Agreed….Kind of reminds me of a young Eddie Johnson….Eddie still has his questionable moments, but has definitely matured better at reading the game and making the better decisions….
The sting of him picking the US is slightly mitigated by his status as an athlete, and not a soccer player. If he decides to become a soccer player, then it might suck a bit more.
I thought he either did file a one time switch already to play for the USA, or was cap tied already?
Teal was never capped by Canada at the senior level, and thus was not required to file a one-time switch to play for the US.
He was capped at youth level by Canada thus requiring a one-time switch to the US. He has already made that one-time switch to the US he can never go back to Canada.
If you are cap tied at the youth level you have to file a one-time switch in order to play for another nation period.
Just like Fabian Johnson who was cap tied by Germany’s youth teams. Fabian Johnson had to file a one-time switch to play for the senior USMNT.
Teal (a) filed a one time switch, you can google it, and (b) started for the US U23s against Canada and subbed against Cuba, in the qualifying tournament. I think the one-timer seals the deal but doesn’t an official youth tournament count as an A game or do you have to make the Olympics?
So the “can he go back to Canada” ship has sailed, it’s more about whether he has any chance here or whether he made a wise decision. He’s committed.
Still smiling on NE for eliminating NJRB. NE been hot lately so i don’t know what Petke was talking about when he called them mediocre.
Petke was thinking about his own playing career
He was being honest. They are a mediocre team at best but NYRB were worse last night so they deservedly got hammered, which he also said. The “NJRB” comment is pretty rich from someone living in Houston.
Revs played a B team, while NY played an A- team, and they still lost. Sounds like the “less than mediocre” comment might be a little to generous.
Funny how the revs reserves scored four goals on new York’s A team. Minus Henry and Cahill. Sounds like something a mediocre team does.
Also minus Olave. So minus both DPs and their best defender. Also without Roy Miller who’s been excellent since that meltdown in SJ and they replaced him with Kimura who was horrendous. So not even close to an A team. Poor performance by RBNY but the Revs are mediocre. Try looking at the standings.
Games in hand, Slow-Man, games in hand.
Fair point, but the Revs are playing quite well recently. Not a mediocre team in the last few weeks, that’s for sure…
Wow. You’re existence is just adding to the reasons people don’t like the Red Bulls.
No. NJRB is pretty much accurate. Actually, it is VERY accurate. NJRBs play in NJ. And their star could not be bothered to play in this match….or in matches on artificial surfaces…or in matches he wasn’t quite up for.. or in….
Rumor time! Donovan to Man United!!
Man U need some quality on the wings and Moyes
did like Donovan at Everton…
Now Moyes has the money!
I like you.
What?! I heard Real Madrid wanted him to replace Ronaldo who is most definitely going to D.C. United….