Andrew Farrell settles ball-NE-DAL-4.14.18

Andrew Farrell returned to the New England Revolution training ground ahead of schedule, but it couldn’t have come at better time for the standout defender following a freak injury during training that resulted in a ruptured retina in his left eye.

“It’s good. All clear. 100 percent,” Farrell told “I feel great. I’m happy to be back in full training with the team and being involved with the guys. I’m looking forward to this weekend.”

Farrell was initially given a return date of April 7, eight weeks after that preseason injury. But he’s been given full medical clearance three weeks ahead of schedule.

After being bedridden for two weeks, Farrell spent the next three weeks working on his fitness, riding a bike, running and even passing the ball.

“He was able to do a lot of fitness (while out), so I think it’s just some match fitness, if you like, and training with the players and being able to get into contact,” Revs coach Brad Friedel said. “I think the first few times he had to head a ball was a bit unnerving for him, but he’ll be fine. We’ll check him out this week, but I don’t think there should be any really big issues, because he did get about three-and-a-half weeks of preseason under his belt before he had this injury.”

Farrell, who missed the second half of preseason because of the injury, said the most difficult part has been the separation from his teammates, until recently.

Although his inclusion was a longshot, Farrell was part of the gameday 18-man roster for the Revs’ 3-2 loss at Toronto FC on Sunday.

It was an important road trip for Farrell.

“Just being incorporated with the team and getting to know the guys even more – the newer guys – it was great this weekend,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work towards full fitness for this weekend.”

Now the question is when will Farrell, who has 30 appearances and topped 2,600 minutes in each of first six MLS campaigns, make his 2019 debut?

It’s possible it comes at home Sunday (4 pm ET | TV & streaming info) against FC Cincinnati. He will have had six full days of training before the match.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Farrell said. “Obviously, I’m excited to be back in with the team this week. We’ll see how that goes. If not, I’ll keep going and keep going until I’m ready to join and help out the team.”