AUSTIN (KXAN) — Even though he’s only 26 years old — eight years younger than team elder Matt Besler, Diego Fagundez has already had a storied MLS career.
In his first 10 years in the league, he played in 265 games, made 189 starts and scored 53 goals. He was 16 years old when he made his MLS debut, and that’s also when he scored his first career goal, coming on as a reserve against Chivas USA.
And on Saturday night, he added another first to his long list of professional accolades when he scored the first goal in Austin FC history in the 59th minute against the Colorado Rapids en route to the club’s first ever win.
“At the end of the day, this is probably my top, I have to say probably top-two, top-three [moments in my career],” Fagundez said. “My first professional goal is definitely my first, I don’t think I can change that. So I think I either have to put this two or three cause it’s not like you get the chance every day to score a goal like this where people are gonna remember it for the rest of their life and no one can take it away from you.”
But for as special as the 54th goal in his career was, it wouldn’t have meant as much if it didn’t help spark the first win for Austin FC.
“At the end of the day, even after scoring such a big goal like that, just how our team collected this energy and came out of nowhere and we were able to score two more with Cecilio [Dominguez], that’s what makes the game special,” Fagundez said. “One goal is very special, but winning the game, I think, was more special for me because we won as an organization, we won as a team, it was our first team win. And at the end of the day, I was able to score the first goal for this city. It was amazing.”
It was an odd twist of fate that even put Fagundez in the starting lineup against. MLS asked Austin FC at the last minute to hold out Tomás Pochettino due to a potential administrative issue, whic led to Fagundez maing his first start for the club in the designated player’s place.
“When I first found out something, it was actually during lunchtime,” Fagundez recalled. “Josh pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, just be ready. We’re trying to fix some stuff up. We don’t know what’s gonna happen.’
“I told him, ‘Look, I’m ready. As a professional for this long, you have to be ready at every moment.’ Then I’m in the locker room and just waiting, seeing what was happening. I think it was like five minutes before we went out for warmups, they said, ‘You’re on.’ I was ready no matter what.”
The challenge for Fagundez and Austin FC now turns into building off last week’s historic match, which can be a challenge. Such a monumental day can serve as either momentum going forward, or a giant distraction that steals the team’s focus away from its next game.
“I think that energy that everybody is gathering from it, from the players to the coaching staff, to the fans, to the whole organization, we’re all in this together,” Fagundez said. “This is just the beginning for us. This is just a little step that we can make our team better. Getting that first goal, getting that first win, that was important because now we can get that energy bring it to the next [game]. That goal for me, as important as it was, as exciting as it was, I need to put it aside and now think of how can we do that again in Minnesota. No one’s gonna forget about that goal, no one’s gonna forget about those wins, but at the end of the day, we still have to focus on what’s coming. We wanna win, we wanna win cups.”
Austin is back on the road on Saturday, taking on Minnesota. United FC is coming off a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake and still looking for its first win of the season. You can watch the match, starting at 7:00, on The CW Austin.
How to find the CW Austin
- AT&T U-Verse: Channel 1012 (HD) – Channel 12 (SD)
- DirecTV: Channel 54 (HD/SD)
- Dish Network: Channel 54 (HD/SD)
- Grande Communications: Channel 812 (HD) – Channel 12 (SD)
- Northland Cable: Channel 112 (HD) – 12 (SD)
- Over the Air: Channel 54
- Suddenlink: Channel 715 (HD) – Channel 12 (SD)
- Spectrum Cable: Channel 12 (HD/SD)