Fagundez's heroics take sting out of miscues

Fagundez's heroics take sting out of miscues
July 1, 2012, 3:10 am
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FOXBORO -- Diego Fagundez was due.

The 17-year-old had only appeared in five games this season for the New England Revolution, but his substitution in the 81st minute on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium was a successful cry for help from Revolution coach Jay Heaps.

"The first thing he said was, 'You go in there, this is your night. Let's get the first goal this year, right now,'" said Fagundez afterwards.

And that's exactly what he did.

Fagundez scored his first goal of the season with just seconds left to play in stoppage time, forcing a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC, and salvaging a point in dramatic fashion for the second-straight match.

The Revolution salvaged a 2-2 draw last weekend in Toronto, thanks to a 94th minute goal. And on Saturday night against the Sounders, the Revs did the same thing. They scored in the 94th minute. This time, it was with a Fagundez header out front, after Fernando Cardenas sent in a nice aerial pass from the left wing.

"I didn't think we were going to get a goal on a header, to be honest with you," said Heaps. "And I didn't think it was going to be Diego."

But it was, as Fagundez stepped into the dirty area and put the header home.

"I don't think it's about the battle, I think it's about whoever gets to the ball first," said Fagundez while describing his effort to get to open space out front. "When I'm looking for that spot, I'm looking to get open."

"I think it shows a good resolve," said Heaps after the draw. "It shows that we have that instinct to say, 'Not today. We're going to fight until the end.'

"Unfortunately, the two games are almost mirror images of each other," added Heaps. "To give up two unanswered goals on two headers. It makes me upset, because we work on those things. It's not anything other than owning up to it, knowing that that's coming in and you've got to be better on it."

With the draw, the Revolution now have at least a point in their last four games. But Heaps wanted more. He wanted a win. And he believes they could have had one on this night. But because of missed opportunities early on, and allowing a pair of goals on Eddie Johnson headers out front, after Saer Sene gave the Revs an early 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, they were unable to do so.

"Unfortunately, as the game went on, we made the exact same mistakes we made in Toronto," said Heaps. "And believe me, we work on that all week, so that's even more frustrating.

"The second header, it was bad all the way around," added Heaps later on. "It was bad pressure on the ball, it was bad by goalkeeper Matt Reis. He's got to come out and get that. And defender A.J. Soares needs to put a body on him. So there's three guys at fault."

Heaps called out Reis, Soares, and even Sene, who put several balls over the net from wide-open looks out front.

"He hits that at practice all day long, and in the second half he had a chance in the same spot," said Heaps about Sene. "I think he was pressing a little bit. He got the goal, but we wanted more from him."

And while Heaps' frustration with a draw was evident, he does realize that a draw is better than a loss.

"We made two mistakes and they scored two goals, and then the rest of the game was trying to get back in," said Heaps. "Credit our guys, they keep believing that we can get back in games. Unfortunately we didn't get the win, but it's better than zero points."