FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution have acquired Ecuadorian forward/midfielder Cristian Penilla on loan from Pachuca for the 2018 MLS season with a transfer option for the 2019 season. Penilla will be added to the roster as a Designated Player or using Targeted Allocation Money pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
“We believe Cristian is a player with the ability to immediately compete for a significant role in New England,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. “His wealth of experience at a highly competitive level makes us feel Cristian will be a great asset to the club’s attack as we begin the 2018 season.”
Penilla, 26, has made more than 200 appearances and logged over 10,000 minutes played across all competitions in his eight-year professional career, which has spanned the top divisions of Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador. He most recently played for Chapecoense of Brazil's top-flight Serie A on loan. Prior to joining Chapecoense, Penilla spent three seasons in Mexico's top-flight Liga MX with Monarcas Morelia and Pachuca, as well as a partial season on loan with Barcelona Sporting Club of Ecuador's first-tier Serie A.
Penilla made 14 combined appearances in his time with Chapecoense and helped the club to qualify for the second stage of the 2018 Copa Libertadores, an annual tournament featuring the top club teams in CONMEBOL. The Esmeraldas, Ecuador native previously made a combined 19 appearances on loan with Monarcas Morelia during the 2016-17 Liga MX season, where he contributed three assists.
During the 2015-16 Liga MX season, Penilla made 18 combined appearances for Pachuca, before being loaned out to Barcelona SC for the remainder of the season. In his return to Barcelona, Penilla made 14 league appearances and contributed seven goals for the Ecuadorian club. Penilla joined Pachuca ahead of the 2014-15 Liga MX season and made a combined 14 appearances with two goals and one assist in his first season with the club.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward/midfielder spent the first five years of his professional career in Ecuador, where he played for Serie A clubs Barcelona SC (2013-14) and Deportivo Quito (2012), as well as Serie B team Club Deportivo ESPOLI (2010-11). In two seasons with Barcelona, Penilla made a combined 72 appearances and registered 13 goals and 15 assists. In his first season in Ecuador's top-flight with Deportivo Quito, the forward made a combined 12 appearances and recorded one goal with one assist. Penilla began his career as a youth player for Club Deportivo ESPOLI, before joining the third-tier team's senior roster for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
The Ecuador native made his international debut on Oct. 11, 2014, when he started and played 45 minutes in an international friendly against the United States at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Conn. Three days later, Penilla registered his first international goal in a friendly against El Salvador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
TRANSACTION: New England Revolution acquire forward/midfielder Cristian Penilla on loan from Pachuca for the 2018 MLS season with a transfer option for the 2019 season and will be added to the roster as a Designated Player or using Targeted Allocation Money pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa on Jan. 23, 2018.
#70 Cristian Penilla
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Date of Birth: May 2, 1991 (Esmeraldas, Ecuador)
Last Club: Pachuca (MEX)