After starting the year as a consistent starter at RB, Jalil Anibaba was benched in favor of midfielder Bratislav Ristic. My impression at the time was that Anibaba was becoming a quality defender, but Carlos de los Cobos and later Frank Klopas apparently disagreed. But with only two days off heading into the game against the Columbus Crew, Klopas elected to rest Ristic and give Anibaba a chance to perform. After the jump, we'll see how he did:
1' Blasts a long pass to Chaves too far for a goal kick.
2' Long pass gets behind Anibaba. Attacker runs it down and Anibaba takes position to try to block the shot. The attacker instead fired a short cross that turned into a dangerous shot.
3' Anibaba and Cuesta can't track down a series of short Crew passes among them, the Crew eventually get behind them and get off a shot.
5' Wins a 50-50 ball, then scrums with an attacker when the ball is tapped back to him. Wins the scrum and springs Oduro down the wing.
7' Wins a race to a loose ball and passes to Oduro. Runs past Oduro trying to overlap, but the return pass is intercepted.
7' Intercepts a pass and taps to Oduro.
8' Throw in headed out by the Crew. 2nd attempt also won by the Crew.
9' Collects a throw from Johnson. Misses Puerari with a long pass but the Fire eventually control.
10' Finds Chaves with a long pass.
10' Finds Chaves with a throw in. Chaves loses it and the Crew is able to counter through the hole he left. Cuesta has had to cover for Anibaba a couple times already this match when Anibaba roamed forward.
13' Collects a Columbus clearance and taps it to Chaves.
14' Hits Oduro with a throw.
14' Throws to Husidic near the Crew box, who taps it back to Anibaba. Anibaba's cross attempt is blocked out for another throw. Anibaba's restart is a short throw back to Husidic.
15' Heads a clearance by Johnson out for a Crew throw. He had time, he could have done better with it.
15' Chases his man into the Fire midfield trying to break up a pass. The attacker can't control and Husidic starts the counter.
16' Intercepts an attempted through pass and taps to Pause.
21' Stares down an attacker with the ball near the sideline. Lets another attacker run past him who receives a through pass. Cuesta was behind Anibaba, I'm unsure whether Anibaba should have stayed on the ball and let Cuesta pick up the runner or chase the runner.
23' Receives a short square pass from Pause and taps it up to Oduro.
26' Gets a head to a loose ball, but knocks it out for a Columbus throw.
27' Wins a 50-50 ball with a header.
28' Heads the ball clear with his head from the top of the box, but not very far.
29' Sneaks up behind an attacker with the ball and tackles it away.
30' Finds Oduro with a 15 yard pass.
30' Runs down a loose ball and taps it back to Gibbs.
31' Wins a 50-50 ball, but heads it out.
32' Chases his man into the midfield and knocks it away. The ball eventually falls to the Crew, who play a through ball down the middle.
33' Wins a 50-50 ball, heads it out.
34' Columbus passes right to him, Anibaba taps it up to Oduro.
34' Dribbles about 30 yards before switching to Nyarko.
35' Taps it up to Husidic. Gets it back from him and gives it back. Husidic keeps it on the 2nd opportunity.
39 Short throw to Pause. Gets it back and knocks it up to Chaves.
42' Misses Oduro with a long pass.
43' Loses a 50-50 ball.
44' Gets beat initially 1 on 2 with help from Pause, Pause eventually shepherds the ball out for a goal kick.
45' Heads a loose ball to Husidic.
45 + 1' Fires in a cross that the Crew head away. Anibaba then heads the Crew clearance to Oduro.
45 + 2' Blasts a switching pass to Nyarko.
48' With Columbus threatening to counter, Anibaba comes in flying and makes a nice open field tackle. He then fires in a cross that almost finds Chaves.
49' Short square to Husidic.
49' Long throw in the Columbus end, finds Chaves on the near post who is able to flick it on. Columbus clears to Anibaba's side, he chases back but isn't able to retrieve the ball.
51' Able to tackle the ball away from a Crew player, it falls to Puerari who unleashes a dangerous shot.
52' Heads away a punt by the Crew keeper.
54' Collects a loose ball and knocks it back to Cuesta.
55' Blasts a long pass at no one in particular.
55' Launches a long throw in the Columbus end that is headed away.
56' Takes up a position ahead of Husidic. He receives the ball from Husidic and fires in a poor cross.
62' Strong tackle leaves attacker down for a few seconds. No whistle.
64' Gets posted up by an attacker who kicks it behind and over both of them.
64' Fouls a Crew player going for a loose ball, Anibaba is shaken up on the play.
66' Retrieves a clearance off a corner and blasts it back to the Columbus box. I find I'm using the word "blasts" a lot.
69' Throws it too close to the goal line and Barouch can't handle it.
69' More accurate with a throw to Barouch near midfield.
71' Heads a ball to Oduro, but the attacker steps in front of Oduro and is able to get a cross in.
76' Knocks it up to Oduro.
76' Stares down two different attackers with the ball, Crew is forced to play it back.
77' Clears a ball bouncing at the top of the box.
81' Lets a man run past him down the wing who receives a through pass and puts in a cross. The man with the ball wasn't well covered either and Anibaba was left defending two men.
82' Wins a 50-50 ball.
82' Has his attempted clearance blocked.
83' Knocks a 50-50 ball out for a throw.
84' Loses a 50-50 ball.
86' Throw intercepted. Gets a second chance and this time finds Oduro.
90' Stares down attacker on a counter, forces him to lay it off.
90+1' Fire goal. No involvement by Anibaba.
90+2' Anibaba and Cuesta block a close range shot.
90+3' Steals the ball from an attacker and knocks it out for a throw.
Thoughts: Anibaba didn't have a great game. He didn't make any big mistakes, but lots of small ones: launching the ball down the field, not anticipating a pass, that kind of thing. He was a weapon on throw-ins, capable of throwing it far enough to create scoring opportunities. His performance certainly wasn't as crisp as Cuesta's game that I reviewed. I can't say whether he is a better option at RB than Ristic, but I don't blame the coaches for wanting to explore their options.