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Arena thinking about his lineup as Farrell and Zahibo return to full health

Arena hasn’t finalized his lineup ahead of Friday’s game against D.C. United.

Chicago Fire FC v New England Revolution Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Competition for playing time is fierce for the New England Revolution.

Head coach Bruce Arena surprised some with the lineup that he went with for the opener against the Montreal Impact. Andrew Farrell and Wilfried weren’t listed because of injuries. Also absent from the XI were Henry Kessler and Diego Fagundez, both of whom were starters in the first two games of the season.

Their replacements were players we haven’t seen a lot of this year. Antonio Delamea and Kelyn Rowe hadn’t logged an appearance while Michael Mancienne only contributed 24 minutes off the bench and Caldwell played just 45.

“[With Farell out], Michael Mancienne was the next player up,” Arena told media on Wednesday. “Toni Delamea we went with instead of Henry Kessler, could’ve gone either way. We anticipate Henry playing a fair amount in this tournament. Kelyn Rowe and Scott Caldwell just played very well in the month of June.”

The lineup performed well, recording a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact. Farrell and Zahibo are expected to be available for Friday’s game against D.C. United, giving Arena plenty to think about.

It’s not just them, however, as many players are pushing for minutes during the MLS is Back Tournament.

“We have a number of players that have been competitive in camp,” Arena explained. “During this tournament we anticipate we’ll see Teal Bunbury, Tajon Buchanan, Damian Rivera, Diego Fagundez, more of Dejuan Jones and Henry Kessler.

“You know we’ve had a bunch of players that have played well and we anticipate some kind of squad rotation throughout the tournament.”