FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When diminutive teenager Diego Fagundez scored on a header from a corner kick during a full-field scrimmage in training earlier this week, his more veteran – and taller – teammates razzed him for the unlikely method in which he found the back of the net.
Fagundez probably won’t take as much heat after repeating the feat on Saturday night during a regular-season match against Seattle Sounders FC, rising unmarked to power home a header off the underside of the crossbar in the 35th minute.
Considering his updated stat line after making his first career start – two goals, one assist and one drawn penalty kick in 144 total minutes of action – it wasn’t surprising Fagundez got on the score sheet. But listed at a generous 5-foot-8 on the Revolution’s official roster, it was a bit unexpected he’d score with his head.
“I did the same exact play at practice and in the game, so the play is working,” Fagundez said during a postgame press conference. “I guess I should keep doing it.”
While the repeated nature of the set play would indicate it’s designed precisely that way, Benny Feilhaber – who delivered the corner kick which Fagundez buried – admitted he wasn’t looking for Fagundez in particular, but simply whipping the ball into the box.
“People don’t see him in there, I guess,” Feilhaber joked. “You know, that little red Mohawk, nobody sees it. So good for him for finding that spot.
“I just put a ball in and to be honest, I didn’t even see who scored when he scored,” admitted Feilhaber. “But it’s great for him. He’s a kid who works hard in training, keeps his head down, doesn’t let the veterans get to him or anything like that. He’s a good kid.”
Unfortunately, Fagundez’s heroics weren’t enough on Saturday night as Fredy Montero struck twice – in the 36th and 47th minutes – to lift the Sounders to a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory. The loss officially ended the Revolution’s slim playoff hopes and leaves the club with only pride to play for in the final three games of the season.
“Jobs are on the line at this point, so it’s a matter of pride and putting in a good performance,” said Chris Tierney. “Everyone’s got to be proud here, to be in this league and prove that they belong. That’s got to be in the back of our minds as we go forward here and try to get some wins for the fans and try to get some wins to prove that we can play in this league.”