Chivas holds off Revolution
Fagundez makes a splash in debut
FOXBOROUGH - Diego Fagundez made a spectacular MLS debut last night. But the Revolution failed to capitalize on his second-half spark, falling, 3-2, to Chivas USA.
Fagundez, a 16-year-old forward who recently completed his freshman year at Leominster High School, earned a penalty kick and scored a goal after entering the game in the 66th minute, nearly bringing the Revolution back from two two-goal deficits. Less than two minutes after entering the match, Fagundez was taken down in the penalty area by US national team defender Heath Pearce and Shalrie Joseph converted the penalty kick in the 69th minute for his seventh goal of the season.
“The first thing I thought was I’m going to have to help the team score a goal, and I did,’’ Fagundez said. “I thought we were going to come back, the last 10 minutes, we attacked the whole time and we were dangerous in the box.’’
Fagundez converted in the 86th minute and the Revolution had chances to tie in added time, a Joseph header deflected off the post by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. But the Revolution paid for defensive breakdowns and the opportunism of Alejandro Moreno.
Chivas held a 2-0 lead on goals by Moreno (31st minute) and Nick LaBrocca (59th) before Fagundez replaced Zack Schilawski at forward. After Joseph’s penalty kick, Moreno extended the edge to 3-1 in the 81st minute.
“We wanted to get a spark,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said of Fagundez. “We had thoughts of playing him at some stage. He’s been doing great in training and you can just see his enthusiasm, he’s got a footballer’s brain. He did a fantastic job, he gets the penalty, he gets the goal.’’
Fagundez might not be a starting candidate when the Revolution (4-10-9, 21 points) visit Columbus next week, though.
“It’s all timing,’’ Nicol said. “Things were settled for us, we were getting everything forward early, so it was a good time for him to come on. Starting a game may be a little bit not there, yet. But as you can see he wants to play and he’s doing everything to get a game.’’
The Revolution went with a Darrius Barnes-Ryan Cochrane central defensive pairing as Franco Coria (knee) and A.J. Soares (suspended) were unavailable. Milton Caraglio, the Revolution’s first designated player, paired with Schilawski at forward. The Revolution threatened early, dictating the tempo by pressuring Chivas in possession.
The Revolution were on the verge of tying the score in the 73d and 79th minutes. First, Benny Feilhaber’s left-foot chip was batted away by Kennedy. Then, a Mansally-Stephen McCarthy combination set up Joseph for a point-blank header, saved by Kennedy.
After Moreno pushed Chivas’s lead to 3-1, Fagundez got to a long ball from Kevin Alston, slipped around Zarek Valentin, and left-footed a shot past Kennedy.
“Kevin Alston played it over the top and Shalrie was about to head it,’’ Fagundez said. “And I just said, ‘leave it,’ and the ball bounced and I put my body around the player and right when the ’keeper came out shot lefty and the ball went in.
“When I saw the ball going in, I said, ‘Oh my God.’ The first thing I did was a heart to my family standing in the club seats.’’
Joseph was in position to salvage a tie as he volleyed off the left post in the 90th minute.
“[Alston] played in a great ball and I just tried to get a hit on it and he just made a great save off the post,’’ Joseph said. “And then the ball stayed alive, and I think Kenny clipped it and I just wasn’t able to redirect it on goal. That’s the story on the night, we were just not able to finish. Offensively, we kept creating chances, pushing and getting numbers in the box, but in the end it wasn’t enough.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.