When Tristan Blackmon was ruled out ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Seattle Sounders, there were some concerns it could be 2020 all over again.
For whatever reason, right back was a real bane for LAFC when Blackmon wasn’t healthy last season. His presumed competition for the position, Andy Najar, never got fit, and there was a revolving door of players filling in, to varying degrees of success, but all those players were effectively doing a job in a pinch.
Enter Marco Farfan in 2021.
The 22-year-old defender made his debut for LAFC in the 1-1 draw, starting and going 80 minutes.
Even though Farfan is a left back by trade, the former Portland Timbers homegrown has experience at right back as well in MLS, and he made the grade in a tough matchup against the Sounders.
“I came in very excited to make my Black-and-Gold debut. It wasn’t the three points we wanted but I’m happy to make my debut and just keep moving forward,” Farfan told reporters after the game.
LAFC head coach Bob Bradley was pleased with the newcomer’s debut.
“Marco did a good job. He’s shown us in training that he picks up ideas, trains in a really good way, competes. Obviously his natural position is left back but we knew that he had played some games at right back when we were able to bring him to LAFC so that’s an option for us on a week where we’re down some players. So, he got some training at right back during the week and I thought he did a really good job today,” Bradley said.
Farfan’s versatility will likely come in handy, maximizing his chances of playing. On the left, Diego Palacios is the starter, with Farfan in competition with Jordan Harvey for minutes. On the right, at this point in the season it’s Blackmon as the starter, with Kim Moon-hwan likely to push him when he becomes healthy. Obviously, if he really impresses, perhaps he can push the starter on one side in the future.
For his part, Farfan is willing to play where he’s asked to.
“I’m happy where I’m at on the field, whether it’s on the left side or on the right side,” he said. “I just want to be an option for the team and help the team as much as possible and be ready whenever my name’s called. Obviously, I’m a left-footed left back, but whenever I’m on the right I should also be comfortable playing on the right so I give the team more options.”
And while it was his first action with his new club and they didn’t get the win in the end, Farfan said he’s feeling comfortable with his new team.
“I’ve been with the team for a while now,” he explained. “And the guys, Bob, and the coaching staff have really been helping me throughout these weeks to be specific to me on the detail they want, my positioning and how to compliment their playing style. I think I was pretty used it leading into this game and I thought I was ready for it. There are still details to get better and we just keep moving forward.”
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