FOXBOROUGH — The biggest question on the lips of all Revolution supporters headed into the winter of 2018-19 surrounds the contract status of midfielders Cristian Penilla and Luis Caicedo. The two players arrived on Route 1 in January and March, respectively, on loan, and when the Revs had moments of success on either side of the ball, they were at the heart of it.
Both loan agreements — Penilla from Pachuca in Mexico’s Liga MX, Caicedo from Cortulua in Colombia — came with an option for New England to buy the players outright after the 2018 Major League Soccer season ends. Generally, the Revs announce roster decisions at the end of November, with the moves going into effect the day after the MLS Cup Final.
Unfortunately, we do not know if the pair wants to stay in New England: the Revolution did not provide a Spanish-speaking translator to the English-speaking media in order to find out their feelings Sunday evening. Several reporters, including BostonSportsJournal.com, requested availability with the duo, as it was the final player availability session before the offseason.
A Monday morning email sent to the MLS Players Association requesting a few minutes with the two players’ agents today has not yet been returned.
Penilla, 27, arrived on Route 1 in January and found himself starting 33 of the club’s 35 matches in both competitions this season. He scored a club-high 12 goals, doing so out on the left wing. The Ecuadorian had a habit of making opposing right backs look silly, as he utilized a simple one-touch to get the ball on his preferred right foot to blast it on-frame.
In addition to his 12 goals, he helped on eight others, including Diego Fagundez’s ninth goal of the season.
After playing for three teams in the Ecuadorian Serie A, Penilla joined Pachuca on Christmas Eve 2014. He would play 28 matches with the Mexican side during 2015, scoring four goals — but Pachuca would send him out on several loan deals, including a return to Ecuador and one to Morelia, both of which in 2016.
In 2017, Pachuca loaned Penilla to Brazilian club Chapecoense, the club which lost a majority of its team in a plane crash in November 2016. After only playing 11 matches, he returned to Mexico.
Before coming to the Revolution, he hadn’t scored a goal since his return to Ecuador with Barcelona SC in 2016.
Caicedo, 22, came to New England in March and found his first action in the home match against New York City FC, a short run-out. But he soon integrated himself into the squad, and turned into a regular starter for Revolution manager Brad Friedel.
He had played for Cortulua since 2015.
Caicedo scored one goal and helped on four others in 2018.