Injury-plagued Colorado Rapids defender Diego Calderon returns home to LDU Quito in Ecuador

Diego Calderón attempts a pass

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After an injury-filled season, former Colorado Rapids defender Diego Calderón returned to his former club, LDU Quito, the Ecuadorian side announced last week.

The Colorado Rapids also confirmed earlier this week that they have not picked up the option on Calderón's loan, and that he has left the club.

The Ecuadorian international had an difficult stint in Commerce City in 2013 despite high expectations heading into the campaign. Calderón’s season was derailed by a March knee injury, which kept him out of action for five months, and when he returned late in the season, 20-year-old Shane O’Neill had taken over the starting center back role alongside Drew Moor.

The 27-year-old Calderón, who has earned five caps for his native Ecuador, only made four appearances (all starts) in 2013. On March 23, during a 1-0 loss to the Galaxy in LA, he hurt his knee while sliding to prevent a goal. It was the last time he appeared in a game for Colorado.

“He was unlucky to suffer a long-term knee injury pretty early in his time with us, and that kept him from being able to really establish himself in our lineup,” Rapids technical director Paul Bravo told the club's website. “We want to thank him for his hard work while he was here, and wish him the very best in his career moving forward.”

It’s the first announced transaction this offseason for the Rapids, who have made it clear they won’t be as active as they were last offseason.

The Rapids will likely pursue depth along the backline, depending on what they choose to do with veteran right back Marvell Wynne and/or if O’Neill is moved back into the midfield, his preferred position.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.