When the Revolution kick off against Orlando City SC on Saturday, the club will play without defenders Antonio Delamea and Je-Vaughn Watson, who left this week for international duty. That’s bad news for the navy and red, as Delamea has served as the team’s most consistent defender, starting all but one match this season.
But none of that worries right back Andrew Farrell. A model of consistency himself, Farrell has played beside an evolving cast of defenders since he entered the league in 2013. He knows a little something about adaptability.
“We've had a lot of guys who've played in [Delamea and Watson’s] spots, who've been playing well in practice and who've played in games this year, who can step up and fill those roles for us,” Farrell said during his midweek media availability.
“It's kind of next man up. I think we're ready for a tough challenge...We don't want to miss those guys, but we've got guys who can step up.”
First-year defender Benjamin Angoua will likely fill Delamea’s void. With Kelyn Rowe still battling a knee injury, Chris Tierney represents the likeliest candidate to replace Watson, who started at left back during last week’s match against D.C. United. And Claude Dielna, who has looked steady through two MLS starts, seems poised to bring Delamea’s leadership.
“He's a very vocal, physical presence,” Farrell said of Dielna. “He leads in practice and in the locker room and in games. It's something that I think we need more of and I'm glad to have that."
The Revolution will need Dielna’s physicality and on-field intelligence against an Orlando side brimming with attacking talent. Though the Lions have scored just 27 goals this season, Dielna & Co. will be tasked with slowing a dangerous attacking group that includes Kaká, Cyle Larin, Dom Dwyer and Carlos Rivas.
“We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and battle them,” Farrell said.
With just nine matches remaining, Farrell knows the 10th-place Revs must win the battle.
“The playoffs start now,” Farrell said. “Orlando coming up this Saturday, it's a must-win. We're gearing for that and that's where the mentality is at."