New England Revolution March Past Philly, Record Day for Diego Fagundez


The New England Revolution defeated the Philadelphia Union Saturday night 1-0, extending their unbeaten streak to five games. The game was fairly open early on, with both sides forcing chances on either end. The Revs defense was forced back deep into their own box on more than a few occasions in the first half. Late heroics and brave defending made sure the Revs kept a clean sheet going into halftime. Calm and collective possession also helped Revolution players Charlie Davies and Lee Nguyen find looks onto goal.

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The three dozen or so Revs fans that made the trip down to the Chester, PA stadium were finally rewarded for their loyalty with a Diego Fagundez goal in the 51st minute. Davies flicked a thrown-in ball on to Fagundez, who was a making a run behind him toward goal. After finding space aside the Union defense, Fagundez caught Union goalkeeper Andre Blake off balance with a strike into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Fortunately, that was all the Revs needed as the boys kept Philadelphia at bay for the remainder of the match. The Union attack could never get itself out of second gear, and a red card on Philadelphia’s Cristian Maidana for spitting gum at Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen in stoppage time packaged and sealed all three points for the Revs.

As a fan, the takeaways from this game are infinite.

First off, Diego Fagundez, who was born in Uruguay, but grew up in Leominster, MA, continues to make Revs supporters proud. His 51st minute goal Saturday night not only gave the Revs all three points, but also made him the youngest player in MLS history to score 25 career league goals.

The kid does not stop impressing. Even when he is not getting on the score sheet, he is putting in solid performances game in and game out. I thought he was the best player on the pitch Saturday night, and, frankly, I was confused as to why coach Jay Heaps subbed him off so early in the second half.

Regardless, it was a huge day for Fagundez, who is playing in his fifth professional season at the ripe age of 20. Here’s to hoping he becomes the leader of this team in the long run, rather than an asset to be sold by the club for a hefty transfer fee. He’s more than a fan-favorite for Revs supporters, and I hope the club does everything in its power to hold onto the youngster.

Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth also deserves much praise for his performance Saturday night. He came up big when the defense was beginning to lose shape throughout the match. The Revs hit the panic button too many times for my liking, as the New England back line was caught on counter attacks in the first half and had trouble defending a Philadelphia offense that was focused on attacking inward from the sides of the box.

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Without Shuttleworth between the sticks, the Revs defense lets up at least two goals in the first half. Yet, it looks like the Revs are banking on the return of injured defender Darrius Barnes to ride out the criticism of their back line going into the final stretch of the regular season.

Despite the defense’s continuous problems, without Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen on the pitch Saturday night, we would be looking at a completely different result. Nguyen led most of the Revs’ attacks up the field to create plenty of chances for strikers Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies. He showed glimpses of his 2014 MVP form, and that kind of attack-driven mentality is exactly what this team needs from him moving forward. To nitpick, however, I would’ve liked to see him make wiser decisions in the final third of the field. Too many times throughout the game. Nguyen made a late or poor pass that failed to get Revs midfielder Teal Bunbury or Charlie Davies behind the Union back line. That is the key element of his game which made him such a force in the league all last season.

The Revs take on Orlando City SC next at Gillette Stadium on Saturday September 5th. I’m expecting a large crowd, with many believing they will be getting a chance to see Kaka play in Orlando colors (Hint: Kaka will only be taking the field at Gillette Stadium in Brazilian yellow a few days later against the USMNT).

Next: Revolution Brave the Weather, Beat Dynamo After Five Hour Affair