If you don’t know the name “Diego Fagundez,” get ahead of the curve on this kid.
Most MLS fans know of him, at least, if they don’t quite know the New England Revolution’s 18-year-old crackerjack attacker.
The Revolution’s first homegrown player, Fagundez signed his initial contract for the senior team almost three years ago, in November of 2010. He’s been steadily on the rise since – but this year has merged into history-making territory.
The Uruguayan-born teenager, still slight but plenty tough, scored goal No. 11 last week, an important second-half equalizer in an eventual 2-1 Revs win over D.C. United.
The Revolution’s communication staff did some digging and came up with these relevant (and revealing) stats and facts:
- Fagundez is the only teenager in MLS history to score 10 or more goals in a season. He is also the youngest player in league history to score at least 10 in a season.
- Eddie Gaven’s 16 total MLS goals as a teenager is best yet. Fagundez has 15 now, matching Jozy Altidore’s teen total (for second best all-time in the league). Of course, Fagundez could play 30-plus more league matches before he climbs out of his teen years, so it’s safe to say he’ll claim that mark (barring a move overseas, of course).
- Freddy Adu, who broke into the league at age 14, still scored only 12 times in MLS as a teenager. Andy Najar, formerly of D.C. United and now with Anderlecht, hit 10 before his 20th birthday. Eddie Johnson and Mack McInerney had eight each as teens. There have been more teen scorers through the MLS years … but those are some for comparisons sake.
- Fagundez is currently fifth in league goal scoring (among teens, 20-somethings, 30-somethings … all of them, that is) and has arrived there without benefit of being the team’s penalty kick taker. Of the scorers in front of Fagundez among MLS leading hit men, Camilo (three), Marco Di Vaio (three) and Robbie Keane (five) all have significant boosts through goals from the 12-yard spot.
There’s more, but that’s a good start as you consider what the young man has already accomplished. Plus, I’ll say this:
Some teenage sensations are pronounced as “being there” already upon arrival. Clearly, we all learned something about expectations and premature pronouncements of greatness with the Freddy Adu fiasco. Probably something with Altidore and perhaps Juan Agudelo, too.
Fagundez, whether by thoughtful design or just by happenstance, is actually earning his media props along the way. Heck, he’s setting historic marks, and still there are plenty of focused, domestic soccer fans don’t know much about the guy.
This is how it needs to be done – not the other way around.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.