A busy stretch for the New England Revolution in which they play three games in eight days likely means roster rotation. This shouldn’t be a problem for the Revs, especially on the attacking end as they have a wealth of options. One player that will be ready to make an impact if his number is called is Diego Fagundez. In fact, the 20 year old should start this Wednesday against Sporting KC.
Reflecting on conceding a lead for the second straight week, head coach Jay Heaps admitted that he had one regret: not getting Fagundez in sooner. On Wednesday, Heaps can remedy this by giving the Massachusetts native the starting nod.
Speaking to Fagundez after Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Toronto FC, it was clear that the midfielder was disappointed after failing to make the Uruguay U-20 roster and missing a prime opportunity to grab a late game-winner for his club team. More than that, however, Fagundez exhibited a drive to regain his starting spot for the Revolution.
After several sharp performance off the bench, Wednesday’s game provides an opening to see what Fagundez can do with extended minutes. Keeping some consistency in the starting lineup, I could see Fagundez starting on the left flank with Juan Agudelo serving as the lone striker. This isn’t a slight on Charlie Davies, who has been outstanding. Instead, it’s about giving other players a chance. Keep in mind that Davies contributed 82 minutes on Saturday while Agudelo was pulled in the 63rd.
Starting Fagundez and Agudelo together on Wednesday would serve as a test to see if they can rediscover the magic they had in 2013. That year, the two creative minds worked well off of each other and gave opposing defenses headaches. With Agudelo often exiting early and Fagundez regularly coming on as a substitute, we haven’t seen much of the duo in 2015.
Of course, Heaps has other ways that he can make small tweaks to the starting eleven. Perhaps Fagundez starts in the middle instead of Lee Nguyen. That spot could also be occupied by Kelyn Rowe. The forward position has other options as well with Sean Okoli waiting to grab some minutes. Let’s not forget that Daigo Kobayashi and Steve Neumann are also waiting in the wings.
Regardless of what Heaps decides to do on Wednesday, one change that needs to happen is inserting Fagundez into the starting lineup. The midfielder is hungry to establish himself as one of the league’s elite.