The Fourth of July match will mark the return to Colorado for Revolution left back Edgar Castillo, who was traded to New England as part of a three-team deal which landed forward Diego Rubio in Colorado.
It was a signature move for Rapids executive vice president of operations and GM Padraig Smith, who looked to bring in proven MLS talent while lowering the overall age profile of Colorado’s roster. But it was an emotional one for fans, who had grown to embrace Castillo, and for the New Mexico native himself, who had expressed a desire to stay.
“I have love for Colorado,” Castillo told media following Monday’s training in Foxborough. “I had a great time being there for a year. Now, I’m on this side and I have to give it my all here, representing the Revolution.”
It’s easy to see why Castillo enjoyed his time in Colorado. Despite the team’s struggles and failure to make the playoffs, he experienced a breakout debut to MLS, starting all but six of the Rapids matches last season while contributing three goals and five assists.
In Colorado, Castillo was well loved by teammates as well, voted Player’s Player of the Year in the team’s end-of-season banquet. As a result, his anticipated Rapids reunion has been a welcome one.
“No, no, no,” he responded on the subject of whether or not there’s been trash talking leading up to this week’s match. “I’ve got a couple of boys there; Timmy [Howard], Jack Price. It’s going to be a good game, and I’m looking forward to going back.”
While it was good times in Colorado for the 32-year-old, his days in New England have been different. The Revs started slow out the gate, going 2-8-2 before the eventual firing of manager Brad Friedel.
The team has struggled, but so has Castillo, who has tallied just two assists in 12 matches. Defensively, he’s also been outplayed by both opponents and his younger competition at left back, including a performance which led to an early benching in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United.
Things have changed for both Colorado and New England of late since their respective coaching changes. Both clubs are currently riding unbeaten streaks with New England unbeaten in its last six matches and Colorado’s unbeaten streak now at eight games.
Castillo has kept an eye on Conor Casey’s resurrection of the Rapids and drew some parallels to the change in team environment New England has likewise experienced under Bruce Arena.
“[Conor Casey] is a great guy. He’s a calm guy,” Castillo explained. “That’s what you need in the locker room, like we have [in New England]. A lot of things changed here, so we feel much better. That’s how it is. That’s how they get all the results they’ve been having.”
Castillo is one to give credit where credit is due. But when the whistle blows for kickoff, the focus will be on getting a win against his former team.
“That’s good for them,” Castillo said. “But now it’s for us now going there and getting three points.”