New England Soccer Today

Heaps ‘Impressed’ w/ Delamea-Angoua Partnership

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

It wasn’t as buzzworthy as, say, scoring a half-dozen goals, but the debut of the Antonio Delamea-Benjamin Angoua center back pairing may have been one of the most important developments for the Revolution during Wednesday’s 6-2 win over Sporting Kansas City.

After working his way back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him all winter, Angoua made his preseason debut on Wednesday, partnering with fellow offseason signing Delamea. The new center backs were acquired within days of each other, a clear sign of the club’s intention to improve a defense that was far from reliable last season.

While the duo wasn’t terribly tested by a Kansas City side brimming with rookies and reserves, Revolution coach Jay Heaps liked what he saw nonetheless.

“I was really impressed with the way they communicated,” Heaps told the media after the match. “I was happy that [Angoua] got his minutes. He was physical when he needed to be physical. He played well with his feet.”

The praise from Heaps comes less than two days after the 30-year-old center back was able to train fully with the Revolution. Angoua, who went 36 minutes in Wednesday’s match, suffered a hamstring knock in a Jan. 14 clash with EA Guingamp.

Even though Angoua and Delamea were afforded only one training session to play together at full speed prior to Wednesday, the duo avoided any hiccups during their spell on the field.

In fact, Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen seemed encouraged by what he saw during the second half, which featured unit filled with first teamers.

“Our shape’s getting better, and a lot of the guys are getting to know each other,” Nguyen told the media after the match. “I think this was the first time Toni and Benji played together on the backline, so it was great to see that combination and at the same time, I think a lot of the guys that you’re going to see in Colorado [for the season opener], we got to play together today.”

It’s unclear whether Angoua will be fit enough to start on First Kick, which is only 10 days away. Factoring the altitude at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, it appears there’s no need to rush Angoua’s progress at this juncture of the season.

“It was a good first 30, 35 minutes,” Heaps said. “I think he could’ve gone a little longer, but we wanted to be conservative with his minutes today.”

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