Maciel | Debut | Atlanta United | 2021
David Silverman

"Very special" Maciel makes MLS debut | "He's been spectacular to start the season"

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As the New England Revolution took down Atlanta United FC on Saturday night, 2-1 at home, a young player made club history at Gillette Stadium.

Central midfielder Maciel became the first Revolution II alum to ever appear for the first team as he started and played the full 90 minutes against Atlanta, and made a lasting impression on his teammates in his first performance.

“I think he’s been good,” Carles Gil said via translator. “He’s a different type of player. He’s different with the ball – he’s very smart. I understand him well. I like playing with him, and I think he’s going to help us. 

“He’s been very special. He’s been spectacular to start the season.”

The exceptional level of play from Maciel was demonstrated through statistics alone, with three possessions gained, 41 total touches, and most notably, completing all 33 of his passes in central midfield in his MLS debut. This shrewd 100% accuracy of his passes stood out to head coach Bruce Arena.

“Maciel is just a terrific passer of the ball and he really complements [Matt Polster],” said Arena. Maciel sees plays early and one thing we lacked last year, for sure, is quicker passing out of those positions. And I think Maciel gives us that.

“His ball distribution was excellent and he defended quite well out of the position. So, we were very pleased with his performance.”

The 21-year-old played all 90 minutes alongside Polster in the midfield. The duo began to develop a partnership throughout preseason and Polster spoke to the quality that Maciel brought against Atlanta in his debut.

“I think it's what he’s done all through preseason,” said Polster. “He’s really composed on the ball, he wins tackles, he cuts out passing lanes, so we really balance each other out pretty well.

“I was pleased with his performance.”

Arena complimented the strong chemistry between the two players. 

"I thought [Maciel] had an outstanding game," said Arena. "[He has a] good partnership with [Matt] Polster, for sure."

Maciel will look to continue to build that partnership with Polster and build upon his first performance next on Saturday, May 8, when the Revs will aim to stay unbeaten as they visit Nashville SC at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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