Michael Farfan dealt to Cruz Azul

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.

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.


  1. The sale leaves Cruz and Le Toux to compete for minutes at right midfield in 2014.

    And this makes James sad.

  2. Walks outside
    Looks in the direction of Chester
    Sheds single tear

  3. I guess we will be suffering through another season with Carroll, Cruz and LeToux. No chance of that combo playing attractive or winning soccer. God I hope they are bringing in some decent players, but I really doubt it.

  4. A few years ago, I spouted on and on about how the U looked at their youth development as a means to make money, not better soccer players. I was told repeatedly that this was their model to succeed not save money or make money.

    For 2 years the U told us that they were committed to their youth movement, that the team would grow and develop cohesively and this would be the model for success.

    So this year, their cohesive youth development strategy resulted in the U parting ways with both Farfans and Torres. They also managed to cut every one of their draft picks this year.

    Now this year, they’ve told us that they understand their needs, a 10 being the primary focus and it’s reported that their main target is a 35yr old that they passed up in the Re-Entry draft so they could save a few dollars. This tells me their was or no plan because their was no way to know that a.) Ferria would be available in the RED or that b.) he wouldn’t be taken by someone else.

    What I’m saying in long form is that it’s not a big deal that we lost Marfan. What is a big deal is that they are inconsistent in both their actions and their words. There is nothing they’ve done that exudes a confidence that they can improve the team and the club. This is why I’ve not renewed my season tickets. The U is simply here to maximize profit at the expense of a passionate fan base……

    • Very interesting and insightful comment.

    • Mo Noodleman says:

      Well said. Very fair criticism Dan C.

    • Well put, Dan C.

      Hate to see Farfan go, but it’s hard for a player who’s geared towards a possession, short passing style play well for a team that only wants to play direct.

      This is a critical year for the Union as if they continue to operate the team in this manner, most STHs will join you in not renewing(including me). I just hope that they realize how hard it will be to get fans to come back after they’ve made that initial break from the team.

    • Thanks for saving me some typing, perfect.

  5. Not only this, but Toronto outbid us for Morrow, who (i think) was our primary target at LB.

  6. I choose to live in denial and believe there is some method in this madness… I’ll reserve judgement till I see all the off-season moves… but all we seem to do is shed players..
    The problems are so obvious that if they are not addressed this off-season honestly, I fear that Dan C may be correct.
    The fan base is so good here (for now) that I would think getting a team here that plays good soccer and is competitive would be a “money making machine”.
    I’ve renewed…

  7. John O'Donnell says:

    This is starting to feel like an Ed Wade team in so many ways. Feeling and acting like a small market team, is no way to gain the confidence to the Philadelphia fan base. It’s been one of the most interesting off seasons in MLS history but yet the U sit. The sad thing is that it just doesn’t seem like the FO or the coach have the vision to be Philadelphia tough. Hello Nick, John, Andy Reid on the phone, he wants to explain how just making the playoffs isn’t good enough.

  8. The Shady Minority owner and the U17 coach are in charge. Why am I not surprised that this franchise continues to regress. We need professional management and real ownership at the helm instead of the dynamic dumbos!

  9. What’s also interesting is the narrative that Hackworth can develop youth, but yet the Farfans and Torres regressed enough in Hack’s eyes to part ways. Shouldn’t they get better under such a great youth developer? How will Hack coach a former MVP type veteran(there’s no way DF comes here for a $500k paycut, but I’ll play along)? This will be an interesting year in Hack’s maturation as a pro coach. Let’s hope it works out.

    • They aren’t the only ones. He’s lousy with the draft and he has no pre-game or in-game strategy. Just throw out Cruz and play pinball. He can’t manage veteran talent of take advantage of a players skill set. He puts out a patchwork line up with players out of position and hopes they’ll miraculously play enough mediocre soccer to get by. He’ll hold press conferences and rely on the timid media not to rake his lame behind over the coals! I want the Union to compete with the top tier teams in MLS, win trophies and be among the best organizations in soccer. However none of it will happen under Sakiewicz and Hackworth.

      • Agreed. His defend-then-counter style of managing suggests he’s either not sure what else to do or just not a good enough manager to do something else. Then there’s his constant inclusion of Danny Cruz, who only plays offense and is therefore a direct contradiction to his defend-first strategy. Hackworth would rather squeak an ugly, unearned win than go all out and risk losing. Even though he promised us attractive, attacking soccer last off-season.

  10. You know, I’m going to go ahead and stay optimistic. There will be plenty of time to be pessimistic and cynical once the season starts with no real moves.

    In the meantime, Im going to go ahead and tell myself this is HAckworth clearing out cap space and roster space so he can rebuild the midfield how he wants. No more logjams, no more “is farfan a CM or winger LOLO” articles. No more distractions. We are trimming the fat so our big name, effective signings will have room to work.

    • I’m with you. And even if there’s no big signing and they turned the keys over to the kids (Hranandez, Pfeffer, McLaughlin, the first-round picks), I can live with that. But don’t throw a middling 26-year old in there (or even an overthehill ex-big name) and tell me that’s the plan.

  11. This is the most disturbing news. We are keeping Brian “can’t pass” Carroll and letting Farfan walk! If Carroll has the “C” this year, I will be outraged by the stupidity of this club. Will be a 2nd rate team with young talent that will fight for minutes w/ has beens and sub-par coaches pets.

  12. Isn’t the Farfans’ little brother at Harrisburg or Reading? We may not remain Farfanless for long.

  13. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m gonna let this whole thing play out… the offseason that is. So far it’s an F-
    I don’t see the plan, the vision, hell, I don’t even see the players?!? I mean, I see hem going to other teams, but whatever. My point is, the next moves better be serious moves that make this team better… or I’m gonna be convinced that all they want to do is make money.
    Show me something.

    • hahaha, wow an F-. that is pretty bad for an offseason that is only a couple weeks old with only a handful of moves of any kind

  14. Mo Noodleman says:

    I’m sure they hadn’t planned on getting an offer on Marfan. I don’t think he was part of the ‘master plan’ or anything like that. But Nick just cannot resist converting assets to cash. It’s like a compulsion: “what, you’ll give me money for one of our guys? Ok. Done!” It’s almost like a sickness. Only sell and never, ever buy!

  15. James lockerbie says:

    February 12,2014 starts the transfer window. If nothing happens in this international transfer window, then this team will be a joke! Remember DC United had to rebuild from nick and peter when they were down there. Same Nick different town.
    Mr. Sugarman Please start looking for a new C.E.O Nick can own part of the team but he should have no Decision making powers.Oh wait wasn’t Nick involved in Florida and the league is just getting back into that area of the country????

    • Nick was never a part of DC United. He was CEO of Tampa Bay Mutiny but he left before they contracted the team. He actually had some success with the Metrostars after that, but the fans weren’t happy with him during his tenure, despite financial success.

      • Why would the fans be concerned about “financial success”? How many dividends Sugarman’s investment pays out is not my concern…..

      • James lockerbie says:

        Sorry, I knew it was one of those teams. My point is he go a track record and its not the greatest from the fans point of view

  16. M farfan did nothing this year he belongs in Mexico should take le toux danny cruz and brian no imagination carrol with him

    • james lockerbie says:

      I agree with your assement of marfan. I am just concerned with the history of off seasons past and the lack of even rumors of incoming players

  17. Did the Union take allocation money or did they maintain first-right-of-refusal?

  18. My sources at the team are circulating two big name signings within the next few weeks. Some of the names circulating:
    Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey
    Brian McBride
    Alessandro Del Piero
    Wason RenterĂ­a
    Tressor Moreno
    Ronaldo de Assis Moreira

    • Del Piero would interest my daughter. His Juventus jersey is the only non-Union soccer shirt she owns at the moment. My parents got it for her when they were in Italy a few years ago, on the recommendation of their tour guide.

    • Union Rumors says:

      Are your sources comedians? I’d be curious to know who you’re speaking with. Give me a shout at union.rumors[at]gmail.com if you’d be able to discuss further.
      Heskey – no dice; team doesn’t need aging striker.
      McBride – he’s, um, retired.
      Del Piero – happy being the big fish in small pond of A-League, pushing 40, aging striker
      Renteria – play for many teams much?
      Moreno – was rumored to be MLS/Union bound a season or two ago
      Ronaldinho – would be a huge get; don’t see it happening though
      Basically, until Ferreira was made available in the RED, the team was really hoping to target a young attacking mid like Roger Tor-, I mean like Diego Valeri. A guy who could fit into the “impact DP” role recently brought to light by the league. They’re definitely dumping salary and making room within the budget/cap for some signings. I’m sure there will be plenty of rumors between now and when the N. American transfer window opens in mid-February … and I’ll be there with my finger on the pulse of potential transactions.

      • So maybe you can help teach me a bit. The tansfer window opens in February. But Farfan just transferred. How’s that happen?

      • Union Rumors says:

        Mexico’s transfer window is different than that of MLS. Inner-league/domestic transfers needed to be completed – or registered with the league, I forget which – by mid-December; transfers from outside the league/country needed to be done by end of December. .
        MLS’s window not opening until mid-Feb has _nothing_ to do with Farfan heading to Cruz Azul; it’s all about the window of the league/country the player is coming into.

      • Ah, I see. Thanks!

      • You missed the satirical sarcasm in my post

  19. Well At least the Union is justifying my wife and I’s decision to dump our season tickets.

  20. Now that’s subtle! Great to hear from you.

  21. Kudos to you! I hadn’t thought of that!

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