New England Revolution's Diego Fagundez puts team before scoring with improved defensive work

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez has yet to turn up on the scoresheet for the New England Revolution this season, but his game is evolving anyway.

The team’s leading scorer from a year ago is showing a penchant for dropping deeper into the defensive third over the last four games, a stretch in the which the club has, not coincidentally, gone 3-0-1.

"Diego is working extremely hard getting into good positions," said Revs head coach Jay Heaps on Tuesday. "He had a couple of turnovers [on Saturday] where I thought he was in the right, exact spot."

Heat maps over New England’s last three matches show that Fagundez is stretching the field much more than he had earlier in the season, roaming end to end and providing a much tighter presence along the sidelines when the Revs are defending. 

He has also been working to familiarize himself with the rotating left-back tandem of Chris Tierney and Kevin Alston, something that could help him create more in the middle third of the field.

"I think defensively I'm doing well,” Fagundez told reporters on Tuesday. “I need to work on a couple of things, practice and get used to the left back."

With the Revs reliant on everyone filling the defensive void left by José Gonçalves over the last three games, Fagundez’s lack of scoring has almost been an afterthought. 

Mindful that the 19-year-old had only one goal through nine Revolution games last year and only five through 20 before finishing with 13 regular-season goals, his coach expects that the scoring touch will come. 

"Diego's continuing to get himself in the right spot defensively; it's going to create offense for him," said Heaps. "If he wasn't doing it on the training field, I'd be nervous, but he continues to do well here, and when he finds his rhythm, we're going to be an even better team."

Fagundez is content with the results as the Revs continue to improve. 

"I try to contribute as much as I can. It doesn't matter if it's scoring or just defending,” said Fagundez. “As long as the team is winning and we're getting our confidence going, that's all that matters.”