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Luis Caicedo makes his return to the pitch

The midfielder made his first start of the 2021 MLS season

MLS: New England Revolution at Chicago Fire Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution sported a starting XI that was heavily rotated and featured some faces that aren’t used to being in the starting XI, including Luis Caicedo.

Caicedo got his first MLS minutes since October 6th of 2019. It’s safe to say it was a long time coming for the Columbian.

The 25-year-old missed all of the 2020 season and also the majority of the 2021 season after recovering from surgery to repair his meniscus in his right knee.

In his first game back, Caicedo played all 90 minutes, had 49 touches, won six duels, had three successful tackles, and three interceptions. He was moving around well and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in.

His coach and teammates like what they saw, Teal Bunbury described him as a machine out on the pitch tonight.

“I thought he did well,” Bunbury said about Caicedo. “I mean, he hasn’t played in however long. He’s really worked hard to get back. He’s had some injuries. It’s been difficult for him, but he’s always had an unbelievable mindset, great work rate, and I think it showed tonight, that he can step up to the plate and he’s ready to go. I think he adds another level of fight into our team that we’re going to need down this stretch.”

It was interesting to see Caicedo play the entire game in his first minutes since 2019. After the match, Bruce Arena indicated that originally Caicedo was supposed to come out of the game much earlier.

“He did very well,” Arena said. “I thought he was going to go 45-60 minutes tonight. He played 90 minutes last Friday with Revolution II. We certainly didn’t think he could go 90 minutes. Maybe it would’ve been wise to get him out a little early, but we had to make a couple of substitutions there in an effort to try to win the game.

The head coach would go on to say that Caicedo deserved praise for his effort on Wednesday night.

With the 25-year-old getting his 2021 season off to a good start, it presents an interesting conundrum for Arena and his staff. He now has to fit Caicedo into an already crowded midfield. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, Caicedo will have to make his case for starting minutes quite quickly.

But all Revolution fans will say that it was great to see the Columbian back on the field. The midfielder will look to continue to get more minutes when New England faces Orlando City at home on Saturday.