Michael Farfan is a left back by trade, having played it since his time as a top young prospect in the Portland Timbers academy system.
That background didn’t stop him from stepping up and contributing at a new, unfamiliar position when he was thrust into a starting role as Los Angeles FC’s right back against the Seattle Sounders in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
A rash of injury forced Bob Bradley’s hand, and he turned to the right-footed Farfan to handle a role he looked comfortable in despite facing one of the best teams in MLS.
“Marco did a good job,” Bradley said. “Obviously his natural position is left back, but we knew that he had played some games at right back when we were able to bring him to LAFC and so that’s an option for us on a week where we’re down some players.”
Acquired in the summer from Portland Timbers, the former U.S. youth national team player stepped into the starting role in place of injured options Tristan Blackmon out and Kim Moon-Hwan. Farfan started two games at right back during his time with the Timbers, but facing a strong Sounders team and playing an unnatural position was not an easy debut assignment for the 20 year-old defender.
Farfan stepped up admirably, playing a solid match to help limit Seattle’s threats on the wing.
“Whether it’s on the left side or on the right side I just want to be an option for the team and help the team as much as possible and be ready whenever my name is called,” said Farfan.
When acquired by LAFC, Farfan was expected to be depth behind Ecuadorian International Diego Palacios, who is expected to miss time with World Cup Qualifying, but Farfan’s versatility should help him find playing time now on both sides of the defense.
Farfan was one of three changes from the 2-0 victory over Austin FC on April 17. Kwadwo Opoku started in place of Carlos Vela and Jose Cifuentes started up top for Diego Rossi who missed his second straight game due to a hamstring injury.
The losses of Vela and Rossi limited the ability for LAFC to put consistent pressure on the Sounders backline, but Farfan was optimistic when speaking on the teams performance.
“I thought we played well getting into the final third,” Farfan said. “Keeping the intensity high and trying to create chances.”
Overall, Farfan still came away earning plaudits from the person whose opinion matters most.
“I thought (Farfan) handled the moment really well,” Bradley said. “He’s got an excellent mentality, he’s smart and picks up things quickly, so we’re very happy with the way he is progressing.”
Farfan and LAFC begin a three-game road trip with a match up against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.