Rafa Marquez is definitely returning. Sometime soon. Probably.

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Franco Panizo, who has been on top of the New York Red Bulls beat all year long, returns from practice with a bit of Rafa-related news: Senor Marquez is on his way back into the NYRB lineup.

Rafa Marquez did say he expects to play 60-70 minutes but sounded like he meant over course of the three games.

And then: “Translation was bit fuzzy (which we know can happen) but hearing him again, he prefaced ’60-70 mins’ by saying needs 2come back slowly

Marquez returned to drills last week, and he’s targeting Saturday’s match with against the Columbus Crew for his return. The Mexican has played just nine matches this year with eight starts. Not the type of return on investment you want for $4 million-plus.

The Red Bulls have been fine without Marquez, but they are better with him. (Trust us, they are.) And, frankly, MLS is a better place with Rafa manning the middle of the field. Even at 33 years old, he can still play and is among the best distributors in the league. He’s not the player he once was, but that’s not the point.

Plus, you gotta think he can help NYRB make a deep run into the playoffs. If everything clicks, this could (finally) be the year for RBNY to lift that trophy.