New England Soccer Today

A New Fagundez?

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When Revolution coach Jay Heaps saw that his team’s shape was out of whack earlier this month, he turned to an unlikely source to help restore it.

After watching his squad take a 4-1 drubbing from the Red Bulls on Jul. 11, Heaps decided to start attack-minded midfielder Diego Fagundez in place of Juan Agudelo out on the left. While Fagundez has been lauded for his offense, questions surrounded his commitment to defense – at least until recently.

“I’ve seen a real maturity in his game where it’s not just ‘oh, he scores a goal or gets an assist,’” Heaps said. “He’s defending very well. He’s connecting himself with the outside back, and with the forward, and that’s really tough role, and he’s doing an excellent job right now on both sides of the ball.”

Although the sample size is small, the Revolution have reaped the rewards with Fagundez in the lineup as of late.

Two weeks ago against New York City FC, Fagundez was asked to track Medhi Ballouchy and Tommy McNamara in a game in which the Revolution were able to clamp down defensively and collect their first clean sheet since mid-June.

He also played a key role in helping spur the offense, setting up Lee Nguyen’s 12th minute strike, which proved to be the lone goal of the match.

While Montevideo-born, Massachusetts-bred midfielder has never been afraid to showcase his creative flair on the ball, he believes that his efforts behind the scenes have allowed him to re-emerge as a dependable option on gameday.

“It’s just hard work,” Fagundez said. “I’m just trying to get on the field and get my confidence going and of course their confidence. I want Jay, all the coaches, and all the players to know that I’m there to play, and do the work that everyone else is putting in.”

Fagundez, who has platooned with Agudelo on the left for much of the season, also knows that staying consistent will be key to keeping his spot in the lineup.

“It’s a mindset,” Fagundez said. “If you put in the work defensively, you might get another start. So I just go out there and make sure that I can do both, even though it’s hard going up and down the field because you get tired. But the energy comes out, and the hard work comes in, and that’s when things come your way.”

Fagundez’s ability to raise his game on the offensive end has also benefited the Revolution. Although he didn’t play a direct role in either of the Revolution’s two goals at Chicago last weekend, the 20-year-old posted a season-best 93.9 percent passing accuracy number, which helped keep the attack fluid against the Fire.

To watch Fagundez take both aspects of the winger’s role with equal dedication is something that Heaps believes is key to the young midfielder’s goal of becoming a force on both sides of the halfway line.

“Now he’s impacting game with his possession, he’s helping us maintain the ball when we get it.” Heaps said. “That’s something we’ve always wanted and asked from him, and he’s been doing extremely well with that in the last 3-4 weeks.”

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