“We’ve been missing that game changer” | Borrero buoys Revs with long-awaited return

4_27_24 Dylan Borrero praying

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Last Saturday’s match against Inter Miami CF saw the long-awaited return of winger Dylan Borrero to the New England Revolution squad, almost exactly one year after suffering a serious injury to his left knee. The 22-year-old Colombian’s journey back to full fitness still has some ways to go, but Borrero said it was an emotional moment just to be back on the pitch, and his return has already provided a boost for his teammates, coaches, and the Foxborough faithful.

A few days before the game, Borrero opened up about how devastating the injury was for him personally.

“In that moment, it was really difficult for me because I was in my best form,” he said of the months before the injury. “I only thought about playing well so I could get selected for some of the upcoming games for the Colombian National Team. That was what was on my mind. But when that happened, I just really thought to myself, ‘Why now?’ because I didn’t understand it.”

Borrero added that the process of recovering from his injury included taking time to recover emotionally from the unexpected setback.

“It took me two months to gain back the motivation that I had,” he said. “Those were two really difficult months where I didn’t want to think about anything … All I could tell myself was, ‘In 10 or 11 months I’m going to be back.’ That’s what I told myself and I’m making it happen.”

Borrero was not the only one thankful that he was making a return. Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, who made way for Borrero in the 81st minute of Saturday’s defeat to Miami, spoke after training on Tuesday about how important it has been for the entire locker room to have him back among their ranks.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to get him back to where he was before he got injured, but just to see his smile every day and know how important those minutes were to him definitely lifts the morale of the entire team.”

Kaye also highlighted how Borrero’s specific skillset and style of play can help the squad going forward, both figuratively and literally.

“We’re excited to see him play, excited to see him have the confidence to go after players one-v-one and give us a different kind of look when he’s on the field,” Kaye said. “So, looking forward to more minutes for him.”

Head coach Caleb Porter was similarly happy to have Borrero back and available for selection again.

“He will bring a lot,” Porter said ahead of the Miami game. “He is individually talented. He is very dynamic. He is a one-on-one penetrator, and when you look at our team right now, we need a little bit of that.”

Porter reiterated the same ideas in his post-match press conference last Saturday.

“Dylan’s going to help us,” he said. “We’ve been missing that game changer.”

Speaking about Borrero’s progress in recovering from the injury, Porter indicated that the team will use caution in easing him back into rotation.

“It’s going to take some time,” he said. “We knew he had maybe 10 minutes in this game, and we just have to be careful because it’s been a year since he’s been out, and it was a major injury.”

For his own part, Borrero said it was emotional to be back on the field.

“I almost shed a few tears, but I held them back,” he said after the game. “But I’m just happy and I owe gratitude to God.”

He went on to say that being able to make his comeback at Gillette Stadium only made it that much more meaningful, especially in front of such a large crowd.

“I enjoy when there are that many fans,” Borrero said. “I experienced that in Brazil, so I’m accustomed to it. I feel that I feel more like myself when it’s like that.”

Physically, he said he was feeling up to the challenge and was eager to get more playing time.

“I don’t feel any pain,” he said. “I’m 100 percent recovered. Keep gaining my rhythm in training and games. We have Chicago and hopefully I play in that game and get more minutes.”

Revs fans will have to wait a couple weeks before they can see Borrero back in action in Foxborough, with the team away to the New York Red Bulls on May 11 after this weekend’s trip to Soldier Field. Nevertheless, the two road games will provide further opportunities for the young winger to get runouts, and hopefully he will be that much closer to full fitness when the team features on May 18.