CHESTER, Pa. – Growing up in Southern California, Michael Farfan used to work on his soccer game by challenging his twin brother Gabriel, one-vs.-one, in the backyard.
On Saturday against Chivas USA, the Philadelphia Union midfielder used those same skills to lead Philly to their first-ever win in his home state.
GOAL: Farfan dices Chivas defense
In what was an individual piece of brilliance, Michael Farfan created the game’s only goal when he dribbled directly at Heath Pearce, cut the ball back three times and sent in a cross that eventually found Freddy Adu, who back-heeled it home to propel the Union to a 1-0 victory.
“I was left with a one-vs.-one situation and just figured I’d take a run at him,” Farfan told MLSsoccer.com following Philly’s training session on Tuesday. “I just kind of zig-zagged and was hoping to find a way to get a cross in. Fortunately, it worked out.”
Making the moment extra special for Farfan was that around 70 friends and family members were on hand at the Home Depot Center to watch him and Union teammate Gabriel. The Farfan twins grew up in San Diego and both started their college careers at nearby Cal State Fullerton.
In the week leading up to the game, Gabriel Farfan called it a “second home crowd.”
“It was exciting to be back home in California,” Michael Farfan said. “It was fun to play in front of all of them. They were excited and happy to see I did well.”
The Farfans’ California homecoming took a twist late in the second half when Gabriel – Philly's starting left back – was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Michael said his brother was “bummed out” about the red card, but that both players were naturally excited about the victory, the Union’s second straight.
Now, Michael Farfan – who’s been used as one of four attacking midfielders in recent weeks – hopes he’ll be able to continue to use his creative ball handling abilities to lead Philly to their third straight win Saturday vs. San Jose at PPL Park (7 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“With the package we have,” he said, “I think we’re really able to create a good possession game.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com.