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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Fagundez, Revs ready to go after bye week

By Brian O'Connell

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Uruguayan-born Diego Fagundez revealed last autumn that he was in the process of obtaining his U.S. citizenship, the American soccer fan base rejoiced in unison at the news.

But after the talented 19-year-old returned from Uruguay U-20 camp last week, Fagundez said that he hasn't exactly eliminated the idea of someday playing for his native country's senior team.

"I always said my doors are open," Fagundez said. "I'm not going to close one door just to leave another open -- I want to leave both doors open. I don't have a team (in mind) right now in which I'm saying 'I'm playing for this country.'"

During the weeklong camp, which featured a pair of friendlies against Peru, Fagundez came on as a substitute in a 1-0 shorthanded loss on Aug. 4. He went the full 90 in the team's second match on Aug. 6, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Even though his national team future remains cloudy at the moment, Fagundez reflected on his brief time with the U-20s. He said many of his teammates were playing in the lower rungs of Uruguayan soccer, and that their plight reminded him of the work required in order to play for an entire country.

"It was a great experience, to tell you the truth," Fagundez said. "For me to go out there and get the chance to play with new players and players that were my own age, it was different."

Bye week was business as usual

Last week, the consensus among many players was that the club's long-awaited bye came at a fortuitous time after the Revolution had recently endured a grueling 39-day stretch that put them on the pitch for a total of 10 matches.

But according to midfielder Scott Caldwell, just because the club was given a scheduling break didn't mean that the team was afforded an opportunity to take it easy and relax out on the training pitch.

"We were able to have a hard week of training last week (in order) to get back and try to refocus," said Caldwell. "We just refocused and got ready, and then had the weekend off to kind of relax, and then get back ready for this week."

It should come as no surprise that coach Jay Heaps wanted to work his players hard last week. The Revolution sputtered into the bye having lost 9 of their last 10, with a spot below the red playoff line reserved for them.

Even so, Heaps was careful enough to allow the players to take a rest during the weekend before getting back to the task at hand with Portland in town on Saturday.

"It was good to get a little bit of a break," Heaps said. "But at the same time, it was only two days off with the weekend off. Guys were back in on Monday, and we're preparing for a huge game on Saturday."

The old college ball coach

Saturday's match will be a mini-reunion of sorts as Timbers coach Caleb Porter will be gameplanning against a couple of his former players.

Porter coached at the University of Akron from 2006-12, and oversaw the development of Caldwell and fellow teammate Teal Bunbury. In fact, Caldwell played a key role during the Zips' NCAA championship season back in 2010.

"It'll be cool," Caldwell said about the opportunity to play against his college coach. "He coached me and helped me become a better player to make the next step here to the Revolution."