FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Michael Mancienne’s return from a three-month injury absence sparked change on the New England Revolution backline last weekend in Seattle, and there’ll be change once again on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena with Andrew Farrell (yellow-card accumulation) suspended for the trip.
Farrell has played every minute of the last 21 games – since returning from the eye injury that forced him to miss the season’s first four matches – so his absence is notable, and Mancienne’s return comes at a critical time with fellow center back Antonio Delamea sidelined by injury.
Sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena said Delamea is progressing “probably a little quicker than (he) thought,” but added that he’s likely unavailable until later this month. That makes a central defensive partnership of Mancienne and Jalil Anibaba likely against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
“Throughout the year, we’ve shown that we have depth throughout the backline,” said Anibaba. “We’ve been able to play multiple guys in multiple spots, and any time someone’s stepped into defensive roles, they’ve done well.
“Farrell’s a guy that’s irreplaceable, obviously, but everybody else needs to be ready. I have no doubt that whoever steps in there will do a fantastic job.”
While it seems Delamea needs a bit more time to recover, rookie DeJuan Jones is back in the mix after missing time in recent weeks with a right leg injury. Jones returned to full training this week, and provides Arena with another option on both wings, and at both outside back positions.
“We’re a little thin in the positions he plays,” Arena said. “It’s good to have him back.”
Trailing the Red Bulls (11-10-4, 37 pts.) by just three points in the East, Saturday night’s matchup is a classic six-pointer, with the Revs (9-9-7, 34 pts.) looking to pull even with their rivals. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, 98.5 The Sports Hub, and 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.