There have been a few constants in the first 10 matches of the Revolution’s season, namely Matt Turner coming up with epic saves in goal. But not only that, there’s been a fiery intensity coming out of centerback Jalil Anibaba. Revs fans took note of his exclamations after making huge stops against Columbus Crew SC when the two sides met April 21 in the Buckeye State, and have grown to appreciate his speed and agility in throwing himself at the striker or midfielder in attack.
The Davis, Calif. native has featured in every match so far in ’18: he came on as an early substitute following Antonio Delamea’s red card against Philadelphia, but since then has primarily slotted into the right centerback spot in front of Turner. He’s had three partners in the back: Claude Dielna, Andrew Farrell (as the right centerback against Colorado), and Delamea, the last coming together in New England’s 3-2 win over Toronto last Saturday night.
Who will be in the back line when the Revs host the Crew Saturday night is anyone’s guess; as we’ve come accustomed to through the first 2 ½ months of the season, we’ll find out who’s in the starting XI about an hour before the match. And given the level of intensity displayed during training sessions this week, Revs manager Brad Friedel will have a few decisions to make; does sure-footed left back Chris Tierney make his second consecutive start, or does Gabriel Somi reclaim his position? Did Dielna do enough to supplant Delamea?
But seeing as Anibaba has been such a mainstay in the back and really hasn’t given Friedel a reason to withdraw him — he hasn’t even been subbed off — it might be a pretty safe bet that No. 3 will somehow be involved with the match against the Crew.