FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez is holding out hope that he may take the field against Manchester United in Wednesday night’s World Football Challenge opener at Gillette Stadium (8 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
Fagundez could work his way into Revolution head coach Steve Nicol's plans after linking up with the first-team squad on Sunday.
New England's first Home Grown player isn't sure whether he will make the 22-man game-day roster for the glamorous friendly against United, but he said he appreciates and understands the magnitude of the opportunity if he receives it.
“Not a lot of 16-year-olds get a chance to play against one of the best teams in the world,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “It's a good chance for me if I get the chance to [play].”
Although Nicol wouldn't reveal whether Fagundez will feature against the Premier League holders, he said that the match merely represents the first in a long series of high-profile matches awaiting the young midfielder during his career.
“If he's not involved the game for any particular reason, the one thing I'm pretty confident of is that he's going to be involved in some pretty big games in his extended career,” Nicol said. “If he's involved tomorrow, then that will be fantastic for him. We do have to pick a squad. If he's not [involved], then I'm sure he's going to have many more opportunities to play in big games.”
Dube Biding His Time
While Fagundez did his best to state his case for inclusion on Tuesday morning, Revolution forward Kheli Dube watched from the sidelines. Dube has missed the past four matches after suffering a recurrence of whiplash symptoms originally sustained in a car accident on May 22.
“The best thing for me is rest,” Dube said. “Right now, I feel much better, but I take every day as it comes. Some days, it feels better. Some days, it feels worse.”
Dube said he plans to approach his recovery patiently after watching former teammate Taylor Twellman grapple with similar issues over the past few years.
“It's your head,” Dube said. “It's better to take care of it right now because now concussions are more life-threatening. I'd rather take my time and get back when I feel fine to play.”
Cochrane Sheds Beard
Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane returned from his side's four-day break from training without the dark black beard he had cultivated during the first half of the campaign.
Cochrane said he didn't plan to shave off the beard, but he made an executive decision to shear it all off and start to regrow it from scratch after erring during the trimming process and subsequently consulting with his wife.
“It's nice to lift the guys' spirits a little bit,” Cochrane said on Monday. “Everybody was joking around about it, hooting and hollering. They can laugh at my expense. It's fun.”