Considering Diego Fagundez’s outstanding season for the New England Revolution

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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.

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Georgia teen heading to Schalke ]

Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”