New England Soccer Today

Delamea: Angoua & I Need Some Training Time

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

There’s no doubt many fears from Revolution fans about the center back spots were calmed – at least somewhat – by the acquisitions of Antonio Mlinar Delamea and Benjamin Angoua last month. However, the situation is far from settled.

With Angoua nursing a hamstring injury at the start of camp, it wasn’t until the fifth and final week of the preseason that the Ivory Coast international was able to see the field. As a result, he and Delamea will enter the regular season opener without the benefit of playing a full 90 together.

“We are still getting to know each other,” Delamea told the media after the match. “We’re playing for the second time today together. We need to do some training together. He was injured for almost half of the preseason. I think every game, he’s getting better.”

After playing together for 36 minutes in Wednesday’s win over Sporting Kansas City, the Delamea-Angoua partnership received an extended run on Saturday, getting in 57 minutes’ worth of work on Saturday against the Red Bulls.

To their credit, the duo kept the Red Bulls rookies and reserves off the board. Perhaps more importantly, they gained valuable time together in match conditions, which are impossible to replicate in training.

“I think we look strong in the back,” Delamea said. “But of course we still made some mistakes, and we need to work on these things to minimize this in the competition.”

They won’t have much of learning curve to work with, for that matter. Improving the defense was the club’s primary goal over the winter after allowing longtime starter Jose Goncalves and reliable veteran Darrius Barnes to both walk away. Any prolonged struggles in the rear may lead to more changes, especially with emerging rookie center back Joshua Smith likely to sign in the coming days.

But Delamea doesn’t appear to be concerned about the long view on a spot where the success of the squad will rest so heavily.

“Personally, I can’t wait for the season to begin,” Delamea said. “I like the challenge. I think this will be my new challenge and I’m looking forward to it. I think we’re ready as a team.”

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