Sorting through the charred rubble of a disaster season, New England can cling to the gem that is Diego Fagundez. The 16-year-old is keeping his international options open.Finishing tied for the least points in Major League Soccer with a dismal 5-16-13 record, the New England Revolution began clearing the rubble for a rebuilding project by releasing head coach Steve Nicol.
The acquisitions of Rajko Lekic, Benny Feilhaber, and Designated Player Milton Caragilo failed to produce sufficient victories, while the lack of attention to the defense led the club to the second highest goals-against tally in the league.
There was one bright spot in the 2011 season, however: forward Diego Fagundez. The 16-year-old surprised many in 2011 by scoring two goals in his first six MLS appearances.
"[There will be] really bright things from him in the future," Chris Tierney said earlier in the month. "He's really been a spark for us."
Fagundez worked his way into the lineup by the end of his rookie year, starting three matches in a row until concussion ruled him out of the season closer against Toronto FC.
In his MLS debut against Chivas USA, Fagundez made an instant impact for the struggling Revolution offense, earning a spot kick and scoring during the run of play. In doing so, the forward became the second-youngest goal-scorer in MLS history.
"Every time I go in I'm trying to help the team," the 16-year-old told Goal.com. "I was pretty excited just to jump into the team. It is a challenge, but it is everything I was expecting to do."
Not just a flair player, the rookie forward has also earned the respect of his teammates through his grit and hard work.
"He's a kid that works hard in training, keeps his head down, doesn't let the veterans get to him or anything like that. He’s a good kid," teammate Benny Feilhaber said after Fagundez's first start, on Oct. 1 against Seattle Sounders FC. "It's good to see him doing well, and he's got plenty more to show. He's got a big career ahead of him."
Fagundez's bright start to life in the league has sparked questions concerning a possible international future, and whether he'll opt for the United States (though not yet eligible) or his native Uruguay.
"Of course I am not going to wait for one or the other," Fagundez told Goal.com exclusively. "Whoever comes first, I am going to take the chance. I am not going to take the chance to wait for either of them."
Whatever his international future holds, the present sees New England set to rebuild the squad with Fagundez's name key in that effort.
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