After an illness that head coach Brad Friedel called “a bit of a mystery,” Antonio Delamea is back on the field.
On May 19, Delamea exited early from the New England Revolution’s home game against Columbus Crew SC. The defender felt “really dizzy and weak,” which forced a change in the 52nd minute. After experiencing some highs and lows, Delamea is ready to put the illness behind him.
“I’ve been struggling for the last two weeks but for the last few days I’ve been okay,” Delamea told The Bent Musket. “I’ve been fighting with the illness for 10 days almost and I think it will be fine.”
Delamea put in a 90 minute shift against Atlanta United FC on Wednesday night. Although he did experience some cramps, which he called “normal,” the 26-year-old felt like his old self. Delamea finished the night with four interceptions, two clears, and one block.
The illness came at a poor time for Delamea, as the defender had just made his return to the starting lineup one week earlier. Competition at center back has been fierce this season with Jalil Anibaba and Claude Dielna proving to be solid alternatives.
“We are all fighting for these two or three spots,” Delamea said. “I’m just trying to push myself in every training to earn the right to play. I’ll just keep doing my job. Hopefully I’ll satisfy the coach to keep the first XI position.”
Delamea knows that making tackles is only part of the job. As a player that can see all of the field, he has to be a vocal presence that serves as an organizer. It’s something that Friedel expects from his center backs.
“From the center backs, [the coaching staff] looks for a leader, a guy that’s going to communicate a lot and be positive and be a leader on the field. I’m trying to do that,” Delamea explained.