FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez continues to exceed even his own expectations.
After notching two goals in each of his first two professional seasons, the 18-year-old wunderkind privately set the lofty benchmark of seven goals in 2013. When that standard was met midseason (in the Revolution’s 21st game on July 27), he set his sights on double digits.
Now that he’s hit the 10-goal mark with still seven games left in the regular season, he’s upped the ante to 15.
Five goals through the final two months is ambitious, to be sure, but with the crafty forward currently on a hot streak – Fagundez has scored in three straight entering this weekend’s visit to the Chicago Fire – there’s no telling what kind of heights he’s capable of hitting.
“Hopefully the rhythm just keeps going,” Fagundez said. “We need goals, no matter who [scores] them. I’m lucky that I’m getting this rhythm going so hopefully it keeps going and I can keep scoring goals.”
Getting into a rhythm is nothing new for Fagundez. This is the second time this season he’s scored in at least three straight games after striking in four straight from May 11 to June 2.
“Once you score a couple, you’re very excited and you feel like you have more confidence to score more,” Fagundez said. “Once the second one comes, I think more come and hopefully I can get more.”
In his third professional season, Fagundez has made the leap from part-time contributor to bona fide team MVP candidate. He totaled four goals and three assists in 26 appearances (11 starts) through 2011 and 2012, but those numbers have skyrocketed to 10 goals and six assists in 24 appearances (21 starts) in 2013.
According to head coach Jay Heaps, the maturation of Fagundez has been gradual, and the growth has been just as much about off-field preparation as on-field performance.
In short, Fagundez is learning to become a true professional.
“With Diego, it’s been progression,” said Heaps, who noted that the Revolution’s system has in part been designed to put Fagundez in dangerous positions. “He’s always had the natural ability, but it’s putting the whole package together with his game management, with his game preparation, with his strength and his body.”
As the Revolution’s leading scorer, Fagundez is beginning to reach the potential the club saw when signing him as a 15-year-old Homegrown player back in 2010. But still a teenager, he may just be scratching the surface.
After all, there’s always work to be done and improvements to be made.
“Now I just have to work on my left foot, and hopefully more goals will come,” Fagundez said with a smile.