By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- The defense was atrocious and the offense couldnt finishas much as they probably should have on Saturday night, so it isnt an idealsituation to be talking about positives, following the New England Revolutions3-2 loss to Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium.
But if there was ever a time to look at the bright side ofthings with a team thats sporting a 4-10-9 record, it would be after a16-year-old homegrown player shows the type of guts, skill, and swagger thatthe Revolution seem to have been lacking all season long.
Meet Diego Fagundez, a soon-to-be sophomore at LeominsterHigh School who made his MLS debut in the 66th minute on Saturday night, whilethe Revs trailed 2-0.
Two minutes into that debut, Fagundez took it upon himselfto put his head down and carry the ball hard into the box, forcing a penaltykick for his team.
Captain Shalrie Joseph took the kick, and sniped thetop-left corner with a bullet, cutting Chivas USAs lead to 2-1.
Chivas USA eventually made it 3-1 in the 81st minute, but itshortly after that Fagundez scored his first career MLS goal. He received adeep cross from Kevin Alston, and after a Chivas USA defender misplayed theball, Fagundez took the loose ball in the box and put it into the back of thenet, making it a 3-2 game in the 86th minute.
It was too little, too late for the Revolution at thatpoint. But Fagundez presence was certainly felt, giving New England somethingto be happy about after a tough loss.
He was huge, said Joseph after the game. He gave thewhole team a spark.
Hes been putting on a show at practice, you can say,added Joseph. Hes a very confident kid at that age. For him to be soconfident is a plus to him, and he came in tonight and gave us a huge spark.Hopefully he can keep going and keep pushing the team.
Fagundez has played for New Englands Under-16 academy teamall season, and finally got his shot on Saturday night in the 66th minute.
The first thing I thought was, Im going to have to try helpingthe team score a goal. And I did.
Revolution coach Steve Nicol said after the game thatFagundez wouldnt be thrown into the starting lineup anytime soon. But he didadmit that his play was one of the only bright spots on Saturday.
We were hoping to get a spark, said Nicol. We hadthoughts of playing him at some stage tonight anyway, because hes been doinggreat in training. He just likes to play. You can see his enthusiasm. It lookslike hes got a footballers brain. So it was a no-brainer to get him on.
He did a fantastic job. He gets the penalty, he gets thegoal. What else can you ask for?
You couldnt have asked for anything more from Fagundez. Butfrom the rest of the team, specifically the defense, it could have been a wholelot better on Saturday night.
The goals we gave up were atrocious, said Nicol. We havethree away. We could have scored seven ourselves. We could have had a 6-or-7-3victory. Instead, we lose 3-2. We go to halftime one down. We should have beentwo-up.
The three goals were atrocious. You know I always defendthe players, but occasionally, when your defense gives up goals like that,theres no hiding place. The goals were atrocious. Really, defensively, we letdown the rest of the team tonight.
The biggest problem for New England, defensively, was thefact that when they got their offensive chances and attacked, they werentgetting back and covering for one another, leaving Chivas USA to create evenhigher quality chances.
We have to make sure, defensively, that when were goingforward, were filling the holes, said Nicol. And thats what we didnt do .. . The source of the problem was when we were actually attacking in theirpenalty box. We need to fill the holes in behind.
We pressured them. We said before the game, we knew we weregoing to get chances tonight. But we had to make sure that when we wentforward, defensively we filled in the gaps, we filled in the holes. And theguys went forward, and we didnt do that.
And when the offense attacked, they couldnt finish as muchas they probably should have, thanks to shots and headers that went wide, andseveral big saves by Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who deserved the gameball on this night.
If it werent for Kennedy, perhaps Fagundez would be the onegetting the game ball. But hes only 16, and after his stellar showing onSaturday night, you can bet on him getting plenty of those in his Revolutioncareer.
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