All throughout the preseason, we were told Diego Fagundez was in the best shape of his young professional career. This was an almost repetitive mantra given to us on every single press release about our young professional. Yet here we sit and we have barely seen him play. At times, over the course of his brief career, we have seen moments of brilliance from him. Goals from distance, headers that he has no right to win, incredibly well-placed through-balls that connect onto runners like magnets. He has done enough in his young career that he has been called into Uruguay's U20 national team.
Fans in New England have built the kid up as if he is some sort of modern day soccer superhero; this young kid - and he is a kid - from Leominster is going to rescue this stagnant franchise. The screams upon his entrance to the pitch are exuberant each and every time. The overall excitement for him is beyond palpable. It is blatant, bordering on flagrant. In actuality, the God's honest truth is that he may just be the most known face of the Revolution to casual fans, perhaps ever.
But what do we do when he is not playing? When the coach relegates him to the bench, we cry foul. The scariest thing beneath all the Diego hype, hoopla, and potential, is that even now, over two years into his professional career, we are still a bit unsure of where he fits. Reports out of the preseason would have us believe he is a central midfielder. Most of the Revolution bloggers and podcasters seem to see him as more of a winger. Jay Heaps, the man whose opinion actually matters, seems to see him as a forward.
We all want him to fit in. Jay Heaps, Brian Bilello, Diego himself, and probably the Kraft Family know he is potentially a hugely marketable star. He should fit in. Everyone wants to see him playing. But what if he cannot? Following last week's game against the Philadelphia Union, Twitter was enraged that it was Chris Tierney, Andy Dorman, and Chad Barrett brought into play. The overwhelming echo was that this game should be the kid's show.
But rationally, it seems that keeping Diego out may have been a smart move. Dorman is bigger and can take the pounding that Philadelphia and New England were doling out. Same goes for Barrett. Our future superstar, Diego, is a short, small, fast, and finesse player. We want Diego to be Jose Villarreal, a player people on Twitter often compare Diego to, but Villarreal is an inch taller and almost 40 pounds heavier. Against Philadelphia, the undersized Diego probably would have been destroyed.
So then, wonder many, what is Diego good for other than making tween girls scream? That has yet to be determined. People are even wondering, just over two games into the season, if Diego should be on the list for Rochester. This is irrational. Does he need time? Yes. Has he gotten it so far? No. Is the season just over 180 minutes old? Um...duh.
It is early in the season, and the home matches have not begun. Diego, upon the signing of his recent contract extension, is going to be here for the foreseeable future - or at least MLS's version of the foreseeable future. He is still developing. He is still growing. If he ever puts on that extra 15 pounds of muscle or grows those few extra inches, then look out. A kid that is already as good as he is could still be even better. But we are impatient and we want him now, and until he is playing 90 every day people will still be looking to find Diego Fagundez.
How should the team nurture Diego? Should he already be starting? What position should he play in? What does the future hold for him? Discuss below.