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New England Revolution working ‘around the clock’ on reinforcements

penilla with revolution
May 19, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen (23) blocks a shot by New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel is keeping extra coy about the transfer targets he and management are continuing to monitor for reinforcements.

At training Tuesday, Friedel said the club would make another international signing but wouldn’t reveal any additional details, including a timetable.

“We are bringing in one more and we’re working around the clock on it,” he told reporters. “One more is definitely coming in. . . . I’m not telling you the position. I like the squad we’ve assembled and any additions we make will make it stronger.”

The Revolution currently have 26 players under contract but lack depth in defense, especially now with both right back Andrew Farrell (eye) and centerback Michael Mancienne (undisclosed injury) potentially unavailable for the home opener against Columbus Crew SC on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Striker Juan Fernando Caicedo is also listed as questionable in the team’s injury report with a “muscle injury.”

Friedel had to adjust the lineup on short notice for last Saturday’s season opening 1-1 tie with FC Dallas when Mancienne got injured in warmups. Jalil Anibaba slotted into central defense instead and paired nicely with Antonio Delamea. Though the back line conceded a goal inside the game’s first 15 minutes, the two centerbacks eventually found their rhythm and even notched assists on Carles Gil’s second half equalizer.

Delamea, who said Tuesday he’s comfortable playing next to all his teammates on the back line, lauded Anibaba’s professionalism in stepping up to the task on the fly.

“It didn’t change much for me,” said Delamea of Anibaba’s late addition to the lineup. “I knew what to expect from the opposition. I just had a little talk with Jalil before the game so he understands the shifting. He’s a really experienced guy who knows what to do every time on the field.”

Friedel echoed Delamea’s remarks, but wouldn’t turn Mancienne’s injury into a narrative about needing more defensive depth. That said, Friedel did note the team’s style of training helps explain how Delamea and Anibaba were able to adjust so seamlessly last Saturday.

“The way we train, everyone gets reps working with everyone,” he said.

Anibaba and Delamea are expected to partner in central defense again this weekend if Mancienne doesn’t get medical clearance. New England hosts a retooled Columbus Crew SC, which kept most of the team that reached last year’s playoffs intact despite hiring Caleb Porter to succeed current United States men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter.

The Revolution are 8-0-4 in home openers since 2007, though they also beat the Crew 3-0 in the 2005 season opener.

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