October 1, 2011
By Adam Burrows
Fagundez gives Revs fans reason to look past this lost season
The main story line was a familiar one at Gillette Stadium.
|Diego Fagundez was a surprise starter for the Revolution against Seattle on Saturday, and scored the only New England goal in a 2-1 loss.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The New England Revolution fail to capitalize on scoring opportunities, commit a couple of crucial defensive errors, and lose another match that was theirs for the taking.
As Head Coach Steve Nicol summed it up, “we make mistakes and we get punished and we can’t quite finish things off.”
Despite Sigi Schmid resting many of his travel-weary starters and jerry-rigging a defensive back line, his Seattle Sounders, owners of the second-best record in MLS, were able to withstand first-half New England pressure and pounce on Revolution miscues, as a brace from Fredy Montero was enough to produce a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
In a game that formally eliminated New England from postseason contention for the second consecutive year, it was Saturday night’s secondary story line that provided the entertainment and sustained the interest of Revolution supporters.
Uruguay native, Leominster High School sophomore, and New England’s first Home Grown Player Diego Fagundez made his inaugural MLS start, played the full game, and scored the Revolution’s only goal.
After contributing to several early half-chances, the 5’8” teenager rose high and unmarked in the 35th minute to head home Benny Feilhaber’s corner kick with a convincing twist of his crimson Mohawk.
As he had done in earlier appearances, when he came off the bench to energize the Revolution attack, Fagundez moved well off the ball, demonstrated intuitive awareness of his teammates, and displayed a deft touch in possession.
Nicol praised the effort of his slender young striker.
“Fantastic header. He made some good runs. Nothing but positive things to say.”
Fagundez enjoyed his long-awaited opportunity.
“It was the best thing ever, starting. I was really excited. I was really not expecting it. I was working hard in practice so I deserved it I guess. I did pretty good while I was playing.”
Fagundez acknowledged some fatigue toward the end of his ninety-plus minutes, but denied that it affected his chances, which fell off as the game progressed.
“I was trying to get the result. Once you want to go for the result, you don’t really think about whether you’re tired or not, you just want to keep going till the end ... I guess I wasn’t really getting the ball that much. I wasn't really getting the same chances I was in the first half."
When asked if he anticipated starting from here on out, Fagundez admitted, “I don’t expect it but I would like to.”
With three games to go in the season, forward Rajko Lakic out for the duration, and nothing to play for but the future, it will be hard to keep the wired, crafty, and preternaturally skilled sixteen year-old on the shelf.
The Revolution continue their three-game homestand next Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes, another team outside the playoff picture.