On the night he became the youngest player in MLS history to make 100 regular-season appearance, New England Revolution home-grown star Diego Fagundez scored a Goal of the Year candidate and then added an assist as the Revolution ended a six-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.
Fagundez has been frozen out by New England boss Jay Heaps for the better part of a year, but the local hero showed Heaps what he has been missing with a man of the match performance.
Diego put the Revs ahead in the 48th minute when a Tierney corner kick was headed away by Matt Polster, but only as far as Fagundez at the top of the box. Fagundez hit a powerful, right-footed volley that flew past Jon Busch in the Chicago goal, giving New England a 1-0 lead.
“It was the best hit I’ve had in my whole career,” said Fagundez, who now has 24 goals as a professional. “I scored tons of goals when I was a kid, but [not] as good as that. I had a couple bicycle kicks, scored a couple of those (in youth soccer). But at this level, scoring something like that is such a big deal.”
It was an audacious attempt from the Homegrown talent, one which could only be tried by the most confident of players. But after curling home a stunning free kick in a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy two weeks ago, confidence is something currently flowing through Fagundez.
“Once the ball lobbed up, the first thing I said was, ‘I have to hit this towards goal’,” he said. “I think everyone was thinking, ‘no, no, no, don’t shoot this.’ But in my head I said, ‘I need to make sure it’s on target.’ Once I shot it, I felt great and saw it go into the back of the net.”
The Revs doubled their lead two minutes later, when Fagundez chested a ball down to Bunbury inside the area and the winger’s volleyed cross was headed into the back of the net from close range by Davies for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Chicago pushed forward over the game’s final 40 minutes, taking eight shots in the second half, but they were unable to find a way past Shuttleworth. The Revolution goalkeeper finished the game with four saves, including one on the Fire’s Jason Johnson late in the contest, to record his fifth shutout of the season and his first since April 25.