We all know of the “next man up” mantra within New England football circles. Whenever someone goes down, the next player on the depth chart grabs his helmet, buckles his chin strap, and goes out and gets the job done. It’s something that Bill Belichick and the Patriots have prided themselves on lo these last 19 years, and it has helped lift the team to six Lombardi trophies.
It’s something the fútbol-ing boys across the hall had to do Saturday afternoon, some 25 miles due north of Dallas.
With head athletic trainer Evan Allen helping center back Michael Mancienne off the pitch during pre-match warm-ups, walking gingerly and grasping his lower back, it soon became clear the Englishman would not be able to play in the Revolution’s 24th season opener. After a quick consult, Brad Friedel quickly looked Jalil Anibaba’s way and told the 9-year professional that he was in.
The Davis, Calif. native stepped into the Revs’ starting XI and, in his usual workman-like manner, undoubtedly helped The Boys In Blue deliver an early-season road draw.
The transition from Mancienne to Anibaba was practically seamless Saturday, given that the 6-foot-1 Anibaba made 29 appearances for the Revs last season, many of which saw him paired up along with Antonio Delamea.