So, I finally get around to seeing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (I can do without crowds, especially made up of on-vacation kids…and the last three movies in the franchise scarred me badly) and I get home to find out that the New England Revolution have finally done something…sort of. I’ll start with the good part of it.
The Revolution have signed midfielder/winger/forward Diego Fagundez to a multi-year contract. While MLS does not release contract details I think we can infer a few things here. First, the contract is for at least three years (yes, a two year contract would be for “multiple” years as well, but work with me here). Second, he’s probably making close to, but not actually, “Designated Player” money…or maybe he’s making that much…or more. New England has the money to spend (Jermaine Jones), he’s a “homegrown” player, and there are new financial rules in play which allow (encourage) clubs to spend money on players who are “stars” on their clubs, if not, “superstars,” which more or less fits Fagundez. Third, re-signing Fagundez means one of two things, both of which are good. Either, he is in the club’s plans for the foreseeable future, or, he has drawn enough interest outside of MLS over the last two years that the club/league want him under contract so that they can benefit from any transfer fee paid for him. As to that, I’m no expert, but I’d guess that, given that he’s still only 20 (more on that below), the club/league could expect him to fetch millions of dollars (though not “tens” of millions) on the open market.
Now, back to that “only 20,” thing. Though Fagundez already holds every meaningful record in MLS for his age (youngest to 100 appearances, youngest to 25 goals, etc.), he’s still getting better. Compare that to Freddy Adu, who debuted a year earlier (14 versus 15 years old) and whose career was essentially over at the age of 17 (or 24 if you want to be kind and count his return to MLS with the Philadelphia Union). Internationally he helped Uruguay to a third place finish in the 2015 South American Youth Football Championships and is sure to be pushing hard for his senior debut with Le Celeste in the coming years.
Okay, here’s the bad news…
…this doesn’t make the club any better. Signing Fagundez to a new contract does not improve the club, it merely “holds the line.” Honestly, it doesn’t even do that, because Jermaine Jones is gone. Perhaps the club will find some help in the draft (only a week away), but to my mind they still need to replace Jones (in some manner) and to bring in one more first team player. Maybe that will be a player from Sporting, who knows. All I know is this, at best the Revolution are a borderline playoff club at the moment and that’s not good enough for me.