With room to roam, Diego Fagundez proves effective creator for New England Revolution
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez used to spend a lot of his time trying to navigate through the cluster in the center of the park.
It proved a somewhat awkward task for the slight 18-year-old to handle. He darted into openings and meandered around the mess of bodies, but he sometimes found it difficult to exert his influence on the game when deployed as a second forward.
“In the middle, most of the players like to go there,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com. “It gets a little cramped up in there. Out wide, you either have a one-on-one or you can try to get into the space behind the defenders.”
New England coach Jay Heaps deployed Fagundez on the right flank to provide him with additional operating room prior to the Revolution's 2-0 victory over Philadelphia on April 27. The switch didn't represent a drastic shift for the Homegrown star given his experience in the wide areas, but it still offered him the latitude to influence the game in other ways.
Fagundez drew plaudits for his display and his opening goal (above) against the Union and retained his place for the 0-0 draw at Portland last Thursday. Although Fagundez is accustomed to playing further up the field, he said his present perch hands him the opportunity to exploit more territory.
“I feel good out wide,” he said. “I can turn and go one versus one against defenders. I'm just flying straight up and running. I can get the ball, turn, look for Jerry and try to help Jerry out.”
Bengtson, Fagundez and the Revs could receive more aid from Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney ahead of Wednesday night's match against Real Salt Lake.
Farrell missed the trip to JELD-WEN Field with a left knee contusion, but he is currently listed as questionable for RSL's visit. Heaps assessed Farrell's status as “questionable, but available” when asked about his rookie right back on Tuesday.
If Farrell is deemed fit enough to feature, he could permit Heaps to restore both of his starting fullbacks for the midweek affair. Tierney is expected to return to the lineup after serving a one-match ban against the Timbers.
Heaps faces further concerns about his central defensive options with A.J. Soares (right hamstring strain) ruled out and Stephen McCarthy (left adductor strain) listed as questionable. Darrius Barnes could deputize in central defense if McCarthy does not recover in time to keep his place in the team.
Newly acquired forward Juan Agudelo will not feature after his trade from Chivas USA on Tuesday night. Agudelo is currently recovering from a left hamstring strain and will miss the date with RSL, according to Revolution general manager Michael Burns.