Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anibaba makes smooth 'D' switch

Fire defender Jalil Anibaba -- Getty Images
By Charlie Corr

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made it clear following the team's 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Sunday where he prefers to play rookie defender Jalil Anibaba.

"I like him better as a center back," Klopas said of Anibaba, who opened the season as the Fire's regular right back. "He reads the game better there. For me, I think he can play both. But I see him as a better center back than on the right."

Anibaba's move to center back has been a smooth one, and that was evident when out of the blue he had to replace an injured Cory Gibbs in the opening minutes of a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 3.

"In college, I was able to grow in that position more," Anibaba said. "When I made the transition to center back from attacking mid (where he played in his first two games at Santa Clara), it wasn't easy for me just because it takes time to get used to a new position. It's just a matter of me having more games underneath my belt at center back, and I've been able to transfer my experiences from college at center back to this level."


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