TUCSON, Ariz. – Diego Fagundez has youthful exuberance on his side. He turned 17 just two weeks ago, and he’s about to enter his second season as a professional soccer player.
And on Wednesday night, he reminded Revolution fans why they should continue to be excited about his seemingly unlimited potential. The former academy product was a pest all over Real Salt Lake’s side of the pitch in a 2-1 win at the Desert Diamond Cup.
Fagundez figured in both of New England’s goals on either side of halftime. In the eighth minute he finished Zack Schilawski’s lay-off to open the scoring. Then in the 56th, he put the Revs back up for good after his chipped attempt beat Kyle Reynish, but rebounded off the underside of the crossbar for an easy putback by Björn Runstrom.
HIGHLIGHTS: New England 2, RSL 1
And those were only the scoring plays. Fagundez tested RSL’s defense all night. It was a performance he knew he had to put forward.
“In the last game [here vs. New York], I didn’t play,” he told MLSsoccer.com after the match, “so I knew in this game I had to do something, I had to play quickly and demonstrate that I can play and, when I got on the field [tonight], the first thing that I did was demonstrate [that].”
After appearing in just six games last season, the teen phenom will likely get a lot more minutes in his second season, according to Revolution GM Michael Burns. But it’ll be a challenging mix in a forward rotation that includes Schilawski and new acqusitions Saër Sène, Fernando Cárdenas and José Moreno.
“That’s not for me to decide,” he said. “All I can do is bring as much energy as I can in the minutes I get. If I work hard and keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get my chances.”
Regardless, it’s not a bad gig for a kid who’s still in high school. Even Fagundez admits he’s still in disbelief sometimes when he thinks about how far he's come since being signed as a Home Grown player 14 months ago.
“Sometimes, yeah, I get up in the morning and realize what I’ve got to do for the day and can’t believe it,” he admitted. “I mean, I’m still in school.”