Photo: Courtesy of Cruz Azul
Michael Farfan is leaving Philadelphia Union.
Mexican side Cruz Azul announced their acquisition of Farfan and introduced him to Mexican media on Saturday.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and the Union have yet to confirm their end of the deal.
Per MLS regs, we can't comment on player transactions until official paperwork is approved. Will provide information as soon as we are able.
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) December 21, 2013
Farfan, 25, is one of three MLS players set to move to Cruz Azul, along with San Jose midfielder Rafael Baca and Los Angeles attacker Jose Villarreal. All are attacking players under the age of 26 who speak Spanish and are of Mexican or Mexican-American heritage. (A video of the news conference is available below.) Farfan is believed to have been entering the last year of his contract with the Union.
Farfan joined the Union in 2011 as a second round draft choice after a stellar college career split between Cal State-Fullerton and the University of North Carolina. He was a two-time All-American in college.
Upon entering his first pro training camp, Farfan was joined by his twin brother, Gabriel, who made the club in preseason and eventually won the starting left back job. The Philly Soccer Page dubbed them Marfan and Garfan, and the nicknames stuck.
Michael Farfan went on to become a rookie of the year finalist in 2011 and an MLS all-star in 2012. He was often touted — including by this site — as the team’s most creative player, with his dancing dribbles along the end line often dazzling fans. Meanwhile, he was equally hard-nosed on the defensive side of the ball and was one of just two players in 2012 to rank among the league’s top 10 players in both fouls suffered and given.
But 2013 was not as kind to Farfan. He struggled as Union manager John Hackworth shuffled him around midfield and seldom played him in his preferred right midfield slot, where Danny Cruz and Sebastien Le Toux claimed most of the minutes. Farfan saw his twin brother traded mid-season to Chivas USA, but he never changed his jersey from “M. Farfan” to just “Farfan”, as might be expected. Meanwhile, Farfan’s playing time with the Union dwindled during the summer.
Still, Farfan closed the season with particularly solid play that left some cautiously optimistic. Despite his struggles, he finished the year rated statistically as the Union’s fourth best player, according to WhoScored.com, behind only Jeff Parke, Sheanon Williams and Amobi Okugo. He ends his Union tenure with 4 goals and 9 assists in 82 regular season games.
The sale leaves Cruz and Le Toux to compete for minutes at right midfield in 2014.