TUCSON, Ariz. – Teal Bunbury wrote the headlines with his one-goal, one-assist performance in Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo in the Desert Diamond Cup.
Bunbury’s impressive turn in a target forward role was a promising development for the Revolution just 11 days out from the season opener, but there was another, more subdued storyline that played out during a quiet first half which could prove just as critical for New England heading into the new season.
Deep-lying central midfielders Scott Caldwell and Gershon Koffie – both projected as potential starters for the Revolution – played alongside each other for the first time in a preseason match, as they continued to form a budding partnership through the opening 45 minutes.
“Good to get them going, playing a little bit together,” said head coach Jay Heaps, who noted that Caldwell was slowed by an illness during the Revs’ first week in Tucson. “We’ve got to continue to work on the chemistry and make sure that we find the relationships that we like.”
Koffie played alongside Kelyn Rowe in the Revolution’s first two Desert Diamond Cup games as the Revs evaluated Rowe in a deeper, more central role than he’s played in recent years. Rowe was sharp in what Heaps called “an attacking No. 8 position” before featuring on the wing against the Dynamo.
Caldwell has also spent time playing alongside Rowe, as well as Daigo Kobayashi.
The mixing and matching has allowed Heaps to gauge partnerships and decide exactly which pairing he wants to put out against the Dynamo in the regular-season opener on March 6. But first the Revs have 90 more minutes of preseason action – what Heaps called a “dress rehearsal” – on Saturday in Tucson.
It’s possible we could see an even more extensive runout for the Caldwell-Koffie partnership, and if that’s the case, Caldwell is confident that the duo will form a professional bond.
“We’ve been in Tucson a week-and-a-half and I’ve been able to kind of see how he plays, and he’s a great player,” Caldwell said of the recently-acquired Koffie. “We kind of share the responsibilities; we go both ways in terms of attacking and defending.
“We’ll see how we can develop that as we continue throughout the preseason.”