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Sunday, May 26, 2013
Fagundez's scoring spree sparks Revs

By Brian O'Connell

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the biggest reasons why the Revolution have managed to reel off back-to-back wins for the first time this season can be summed up in two words: Diego Fagundez.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old midfielder scored his third goal in as many games to lift his club to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. He leads the club with four goals on the season.

Juan Agudelo
Diego Fagundez celebrates his goal with Juan Agudelo.
Not bad for a guy who wasn't even considered a regular starter about a month ago.

"Getting those extra minutes in and getting confident in the game (has helped)," Fagundez said after Saturday's game. "Then, just going out there, trying to help out the team and being in the right spots."

No question Fagundez has been getting into the right spots during the last three weeks. Whether it's sneaking to the near post on a corner kick, running onto a ball and bursting through the backline, or volleying a deep cross -- as he did on Saturday -- Fagundez is finding a variety of ways to stamp his name on the scoresheet.

The manner in which the Revolution's original Homegrown Player has found the back of the net hasn't been an accident, especially with the club's improved form going forward.

In recent weeks, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has tinkered his offense to get the most out of dynamic players like Fagundez, who's never been shy to take on a defender or make a late run into the area. So far, the tweaking has done wonders to put Fagundez in dangerous positions.

"The way we've been playing right now is very fluid in the offense," Heaps said. "We're pushing where Diego is. It's a little bit wider and he has a little bit more freedom and so he's getting good in matchups and he's an intuitive player as well."

That intuition served him well on Saturday. In a game that could've deteriorated into a sluggish effort given the rainy conditions and a struggling opponent that would've been happy to salvage a draw, Fagundez made a keen far post run and punched a long cross from Chris Tierney past Toronto keeper Joseph Bendik in the 23rd minute for what proved to be the game winner.

"I wasn't trying to pick out Diego or anything," Tierney said. "I was just trying to put it in a good area ... what a finish on his part. Great side-foot finish."

But the teenager wasn't about to punch the clock after his masterpiece. Instead, he continued to make dangerous runs into the final third, and put additional pressure on the Toronto backline by switching sides with fellow midfielder Juan Agudelo, a certain freedom that Heaps might not have given him a few weeks ago.

"I actually like that a lot because you don't have just one side just to stay on the whole game," Fagundez said. "If you play 90 against just one defender, he knows what you're doing, so you just switch it up and they get confused."

Most teenage attacking players would be content to devote all their energies on the offensive end and put their defensive chores on the backburner. But Heaps is quick to point out that Fagundez has actually done well to track back and aid the defense.

"He's becoming a complete player," Heaps said. "You see him forward and back doing both things, and the better he is defensively, the more he does offensively."

Eventually, the rest of the league will catch on to what Fagundez has been doing during the past three weeks. He knows that his torrid form won't last forever, and he understands he'll have to put in more work each week to find scoring chances.

"It's going to get harder and harder," Fagundez said. "But I just have just to (find) those chances and just get into the right spots at the right time and go forward from there."