Diego Fagundez scores twice as Revs top Crew
FOXBORO — Diego Fagundez delighted a sun-splashed crowd of 18,651 on Salute to Heroes Day by scoring a pair of goals to lead the Revolution to a 2-1 revenge-minded victory over the Columbus Crew yesterday at Gillette Stadium.
Fagundez scored in the 24th and 34th minutes for his second and third goals of the season while goalkeeper Cody Cropper (four saves) backstopped the win with alert play in net.
“He’s a creator. He’s a goal-scorer. He’s confident he can finish his shots. He’s confident and dangerous right now,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said of Fagundez. “I want him to be a complete player and I think that’s what you saw today when he battled, too, on defense.”
The story of the opening half was the impact made by the 22-year-old Leominster product. Despite his age, Fagundez is a veteran of seven MLS campaigns, and he tied ex-Boston University star Andy Dorman’s club record for consecutive games played by a Revs field player with 65. (Former keeper Matt Reis is the all-time leader with 89.)
Columbus (6-6-1), which had the better of the early moments and looked to duplicate its 2-0 win over the Revs on May 6, grabbed a 1-0 lead 20 minutes in with a stunning volley. Crew captain Wil Trapp lofted a long ball to spring the ever-dangerous Ola Kamara, who took the pass on one bounce and blasted a 30-yard dipping shot past a helpless Cropper, inside his far right post. It was his seventh goal of the season.
The momentum turned just as fast for the Revs (4-4-4), who connected in the 24th minute on a brilliant tic-tac-toe passing combination to tie the game. The ball went from Lee Nguyen to Kei Kamara on the right, who fed across the goalmouth to Fagundez crashing the left post. He deposited it into the net with a flick of the outside of his right foot, under diving Crew keeper Zack Steffen (two saves).
“Kei did his job in sliding it across and I just have to finish. I was very happy for it,” Fagundez said. “It’s a crazy thing. The first one is the hardest for me. I just have to keep playing the same way. Before I got the first one, I was getting chances. Nothing changes. I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”
The fan favorite was shaken up in the 28th minute but recovered nicely after referee Alan Kelly graciously helped Fagundez to his feet. Fagundez then put the hosts ahead in the 34th minute after a nifty one-on-one run against Trapp. His dribbling froze the defender as he sped right fast, charging toward Steffen’s goal. He closed tight before pushing the ball inside the far post past Steffen for a 2-1 lead.
“It was a 2-on-1 overall. I had plenty of space. (Steffen) wasn’t coming out. I had one-on-one against the keeper. That’s what I do best,” Fagundez said.
Heaps made a lineup change to begin the second half, inserting re-acquired veteran midfielder Gershon Koffie, who teamed with Xavier Kouassi to disrupt the Crew attack.
“The start was just a little bit out of sync for us,” said Heaps. “We made a tactical change after they scored. We went more to a 4-2-3-1 (formation) to defend a little bit better. I think the second half was light years better.”
The Crew almost tied it up in the 60th minute but Justin Meram’s header caught the crossbar. In the 78th minute, Cropper stood tall to deflect Adam Jahn’s bullet away.
Farrell saw red for a serious foul in the 92nd minute and must sit out next week’s game at the New York Red Bulls.