The New England Revolution are back in the MLS Playoffs for the first time since 2015, and they want to make a splash.
Revolution midfielder/forward Teal Bunbury, in particular, is extremely proud of what New England has been able to accomplish since Bruce Arena was named head coach in May.
"I think we're very hungry. It's been an up-and-down season, guys have been putting in the work," Bunbury told revolutionsoccer.net earlier this week. "Really proud of how we've been able to kind of turn this season around. The support we've had. But now we're not satisfied with just making it into the playoffs. We know Atlanta's obviously the defending champions, they're a great team. We just played there recently but I think we're going to have a good game plan going into the game on Sunday and we're going to be motivated and we're going to be ready to go."
In their final game of the regular season, the Revolution fell to Atlanta United 3-1, but that game was a good primer for what's ahead in their playoff rematch in Atlanta on Saturday at 1 p.m. Bunbury noted the season finale helped New England figure out Atlanta's tendencies and what to expect in the playoffs.
"Their tendencies. You know, their attacking tendencies. Josef Martinez is a goal scorer. So, obviously he's someone we're going to have to keep an eye on," Bunbury said. "But right now I think it's a lot about attention to detail. You'll probably hear that from a lot of the guys. In these moments it's about just who executes, who competes. Obviously tactics are going to play a huge role but you never know what's going to happen in these playoff games, and it's not going to be very high scoring, but we're all going to need to be one unit and working for each other and if someone makes a mistake you're picking that person up. So, that's what's going to be most important."
Bunbury knows that the Revs' are confident and will seize the opportunity, but they've never beaten Atlanta and are pegged as the underdogs. Although, he's not focused on that.
"I don't think we pay attention to that," Bunbury said. "I think we've done well enough to get ourselves in this position and we're a confident group, and I think we've been working hard all season long and I think it's going to come down to the little moments in this game and not messing up on little plays here and there. Four months ago we had no chance at making the playoffs and we did it so, it's okay if we have these people saying we're underdogs or whatever it might be. But I think we're a confident group and we have a great opportunity. We all love as athletes to be able to play in these situations, so I think everyone's going to be up for it."
It's going to be difficult, but as Bunbury told the media on Wednesday, "If you're a player and can't get up for games like this, moments like this, you're in the wrong business."
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