CHESTER, Pa. – It was not a play the Philadelphia Union ever practiced.
But as Chivas USA players surrounded referee Jorge Gonzalez to vehemently protest getting called for an illegal back-pass to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, Michael Farfan knew exactly what he was going to do with the rarely-seen indirect free kick.
“I was watching after the call was made and Mike was lining that up for about two minutes,” said Union manager John Hackworth, who was ejected from the game just minutes earlier for arguing a no-call and watched the play unfold from the tunnel. “You could tell he was going there.”
After patiently waiting for the chaos to stop, the Union then perfectly executed the free kick from about seven yards out. Farfan rocketed the ball over the horde of Chivas USA players in front of him and into the top of the net after getting a tap from Sebastien Le Toux, giving the Union a permanent lead in what ended up being a 3-1 victory.
“You could tell right away that Michael said, ‘Hey, I got this. If you just put it to where I can get it, I’m going to put this on the roof,’” Hackworth said. “And he did. He aimed it perfectly. He’s a great player that way. He’s got excellent technique.”
Despite being so close to goal, it was not an easy play to score on. Chivas put essentially their entire team in front of the goal and then the Goats' players charged toward Farfan right when Le Toux made the tap.
“I was pretty confident,” Farfan said. “I knew they were going to come rushing out so I had to put it over their heads. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t put it over the bar.”
Union captain Brian Carroll has been in the league for 11 years but noted he’s only seen the illegal back-pass called “once or twice” in his professional career. And because it happens so infrequently, how you handle the ensuing indirect free kick is “playground ball stuff.”
“It’s not easy even though it’s so close to the goal,” Carroll said. “Credit to the guys for coming up with that designed play and making it happen.”
The goal was Farfan’s first of the season. Even better, the game-winning strike happened in his first-ever professional matchup against his twin brother Gabriel Fabrian and with their mother watching the game live from the stands.
“That’s probably the most difficult goal that he’s had,” Union right back Sheanon Williams said. “The technique to sky it to the top of the net is great. That’s good for him. I think it will build his confidence and hopefully he’ll continue to score more goals going forward.”
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