CHESTER, Pa. – For Michael Farfan, the timing could not be worse.
After a season of inconsistent performances and sporadic playing time, the Philadelphia Union midfielder had finally rounded into form, playing a full 90 minutes in Philly’s last three games – two wins and a draw.
But Farfan will be suspended for the Union’s most important game to date – a Saturday tilt with the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium (2 pm ET; MLS Live) that has enormous playoff implications – because of yellow card accumulation.
“It’s going to be tough to lose Michael,” Union manager John Hackworth said during his weekly press conference Wednesday. “I’ve been really pleased with Michael over the past three games. It hasn’t been the easiest year for him. But to see him back in really good form and play some huge minutes for us and be so important to what we’re doing, I’m pleased for him personally knowing that as a player he has the capability.
“I know the coaches were joking around today that he looks so good that we’re disappointed that we’re not going to have him on Saturday.”
While Farfan doesn’t have any goals or assists in the past three games, he’s been denied by a couple of big saves and has certainly sparked the offense with his creativity.
But the 25-year-old midfielder lost his cool in the 79th minute of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United after getting dragged down just outside the box by Sainey Nyassi, who wasn’t whistled for a foul.
He immediately took down Chris Korb – a foul that did get called and led to a yellow card that knocked him out of the next match.
“I think it was definitely a foul, and he didn’t call it,” Farfan said. “I was definitely a little frustrated and ended up taking Korb out.”
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Now, Farfan simply hopes that one lapse in judgment won’t stall the momentum it took him almost all season to find. The midfielder is fully aware, after all, that he hasn’t been as effective this season as he was in the last, when he emerged as one of the Union’s best players.
“I think players go through spells where they’re not going to perform at their highest potential,” he said. “You have your ups and downs as a player. I was just hoping to get out of that little spell and move forward.
“I’m pretty sad I don’t get to play this upcoming game vs. Montreal,” he continued. “We know it’s really important, if not the most important game of our season. I’d love to be out there, but unfortunately I don’t get that chance.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.