Michael Farfan appeared in and started his first game for the Union on Wednesday, a U.S. Open Cup qualifier loss to DC United in penalties.
He probably wasn’t expecting to play 120 minutes – in three different positions.
The Union rookie featured opposite Keon Daniel in the midfield, who was also making his first Union start.
Farfan began in a right-sided midfield role, rounding out a 4-4-2 formation that also included central midfielders Brian Carroll and Kyle Nakazawa. Stefani Miglioranzi was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season. It was the first Union lineup that did not include two defensive midfielders.
In the 74th minute, Manager Peter Nowak took off Sheanon Williams and put Danny Mwanga in the game. In turn, Farfan moved to right back.
“I think he was nervous in the beginning,” Nowak said after the match. “He tried to find his spot where he can run at the defender and use his speed. I think he did okay [as a midfielder]. As a right back, he played as a right back in the preseason with us, and he did very well. He was in a couple of good situations, and there was a dangerous situation he cleaned up.”
Farfan’s goal line clearance in the 90th minute ensured the Union would be heading for extra time. Though the ball did not appear to be bound for the back of the net, it was deflected into a dangerous position, about two yards away from an open goal. Farfan pounced on the ball, clearing the threat.
After Carlos Valdes’ late red card, Farfan was moved again, this time partnering with Danny Califf in central defense. He held serve in a makeshift formation, as the 10-man Union desperately tried to fend off wave after wave of United chances.
“Later on, when he played in the middle, he was very good,” added Nowak. “I love to have those kinds of guys who are versatile. Whatever position you put them in, they are very good. I’m happy for him to have this first game with us, and I’m looking forward to using him in league games.”
Farfan's versatility seemingly runs in the family. Twin brother Gabriel – who missed the match after dislocating the little toe on his right foot in training on Tuesday – has also proven capable of featuring in multiple spots, coming off the bench in Philadelphia's wins against Houston and Vancouver.