The boos cascaded down on Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury every time he touched the ball Saturday at Empire Field in Vancouver.
Whitecaps fans were expressing their displeasure with Bunbury’s decision to play for the U.S. national team intead of Canada, where he was born.
The razzing didn’t affect Bunbury one bit. He scored a brace in helping Sporting Kansas City take a 3-0 lead in the second half. However, the Whitecaps scored three goals in the last 20 minutes of a 3-3 tie.
So, did Bunbury take pleasure in scoring when seemingly all 20,518 fans were against him?
“No. Obviously it felt good to score, but we should have won the game,” Bunbury said. “It would have felt better if we won the game. Honestly, I’m disappointed moreso than excited about scoring the goals. We should have won the game, bottom line.”
The rude reception in the Great White North didn’t come as a surprise to Bunbury.
“I was expecting that,” he said. “It’s only a given that the fans are going to act that way. But I don’t hold any grudges and don’t hold anything against them. I tried to go out there and keep the distractions away and play my game and focus on helping my team out and contributing what I could do to help us win.”
While the tie must have been rough for Sporting fans to take, one positive (other than Jimmy Nielsen’s solid performance) had to be seeing Bunbury’s goal-scoring prowess.
The first goal was a laser from 18 yards out in first-half stoppage time. On the second goal, he took a pass in the penalty box, cut inside against Vancouver’s Greg Janicki and blasted a shot by Jay Nolly.
Not bad for a guy who is still recovering from a dislocated right elbow. He now has three goals in two games.
“I feel like it’s coming back,” Bunbury said. “I’m getting rehab on the elbow and just training every day. I feel like I’m working hard and trying to take my game to the next level.”