Photo by Kelley L Cox/ISIPhotos.com
By KEITH HICKEY
When the Philadelphia Union made the surprising decision to trade away defender Jordan Harvey, the biggest concern about the swap was just who would replace him in the Union back-line.
Peter Nowak turned to twin brothers Gabriel and Michael Farfan. Gabriel has become a more regular starter at left back for the Union and credits the faith Nowak has shown in him with helping make the transition from midfield to defense.
“(The trust was) very important," Gabriel said. "It showed showed he had confidence in us to do the job, and hopefully we've proved that.”
Farfan has held his own at left back, and while he has had some growing pains at the position, his brother Michael has also stepped in at times to help fill the role. Farfan said his time in Mexico (he was a part of the Club America youth setup between 2008 and 2011) helped him improve the technical side of his game.
“(My time in Mexico) helped significantly. It showed me a different soccer culture," Farfan said. MLS is a physical league, there it's the opposite. I'm one of the smallest guys on the team here. It was nice to get my technical side down. It's more pass and move down there.”
Originally a forward in his college days, Farfan has adapted well to the left back positon, where his speed and technical ability have helped him fit in well. Also capable of playing in midfield, Farfan has adapted to life as a defender and is ready to play wherever Nowak needs him.
“I honestly don’t have a preference (about position)," Farfan said. "Obviously, my dream is to play for the national team. Position doesn't matter, whether that's as an outside back, or an outside midfielder.”
Despite the Union’s recent slide — the team is winless in eight matches — Farfan was positive about the Union’s chances to make it to the postseason.
“I hope we'll be in the playoffs. All the guys in the locker room are still confident, we just need to get a result and gain some momentum.”
Union Sign Defender Tait
The Union announced the signing of English defender Joe Tait from USL side Dayton Dutch Lions this week. Tait, who previously played for The Baton Rouge Capitals, Lindsey Wilson College, and Hartlepool United in England, will occupy the roster spot vacated by Levi Houapeu.
The 2009 PDL Defender of The Year had been on trial with the team, and scored a goal against Harrisburg in a friendly last month.
Speaking to MLSSoccer.com, Tait said his desire to make an impact.
“I’m not just here to play reserve games," Tait said. "I’ve got two quality center halves in front of me but they’re obviously good to learn from. But if the manager needs me, yeah, I’m ready to go.”
Midfielder Langley Signs From Harrisburg
The Union added another new face on Thursday, acquiring midfielder Morgan Langley from USL-Pro affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders. The 20 year old was a standout with local Swarthmore College, and was an integral part of Harrisburg's run to the USL-Pro Final.
Langley is the third player to make the jump from Harrisburg to the Union, following in the footsteps of J.T. Noone and Sheanon Williams.
Houapeu’s Season Ended By Ankle Inury
The Union have placed Ivoirian midfielder Levi Houapeu on the season-ending injury list. Houapeu, the Union’s third round draft pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, has yet to make an appearance for the club.