The improbable story of the Farfan brothers got even more improbable on Saturday.
A little more than two months after becoming the first set of twins ever to be signed by the same Major League Soccer team, Michael and Gabriel Farfan each scored their first career MLS goals – in back-to-back games.
Michael opened his account in the Philadelphia Union’s 2-1 win over Chicago on May 21, a week before Gabriel accomplished the same feat during Philly’s 6-2 rout of Toronto FC on Saturday.
“It was definitely exciting [Michael] got his first goal last week,” Gabriel said Saturday from Toronto. “I was joking with a couple of friends around the league, talking about how I need to score now. I promised [assistant coach John Hackworth] I’d get a goal this game. Luckily, I was able to deliver.”
It took him less than two minutes to make good on that promise.
Getting the start in the midfield, in part because Michael was nursing an injured right groin, Gabriel gave the Union an early 1-0 lead when he chested down a cross from Jordan Harvey in the box and drove a low shot past Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The goal was set up because Toronto defender Dan Gargan, a Philadelphia native, misplayed the Harvey cross.
“I was going to actually try to win the ball from the defender but I thought he’d dive in, which he did,” Gabriel said. “So I just delayed my run and took a touch behind him so he was completely out of the play. I saw the goalie sliding down the line to where I was, so I just decided to hit it back post.”
From there, the scoring just kept coming for a Union squad that broke out in a big way, doubling their franchise record for goals in a game with six en route to their most convincing win of the year.
“It was a good time for a goal,” Gabriel said of his opening tally. “It helped out the team’s confidence.”
On top of his goal, Gabriel showed good form with his dribbling and crosses, all while playing 90 minutes in the win. It was only his second start ever for the Union, and his first in the midfield.
With the victory, the Union (6-3-2) are now all alone in first place in the Eastern Conference, two points in front of the New York Red Bulls. The rookie brothers are a big reason why.
“Everything,” Gabriel said, “just worked in our favor.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.