After two MLS seasons playing as a right back, Andrew Farrell shifted centrally in a move that has long been predicted. The transition, however, hasn’t exactly been smooth.
With Farrell as a center back, the New England Revolution lost their first two matches of 2015, conceding five goals in total. In these games, Farrell, and the defense as a whole, has struggled to stay focused and organized.
A breakthrough came in the Revolution’s third game as the club recorded their first shutout of the season, a scoreless draw against the Montreal Impact. It was an important milestone for Farrell.
"It’s huge," Farrell stated. "I didn’t feel too good about the last two results. Moving on and getting that first shutout of the season feels good and (we need to) keep on improving. We know we had some mistakes there we got to clear up and move on to the next game."
After working largely with Jose Goncalves, Farrell was asked to partner with Darrius Barnes on Saturday as the captain served a one-game suspension for receiving a red card against New York City FC. The change was manageable and Farrell commended Barnes’ work effort and general chemistry with the team. The duo practiced together in the lead up to the game to help work out the kinks.
"(We were) just focusing on our shape, and just making sure we were connected on the back line," Barnes remarked. "We knew if we didn’t give anything away, we’d have a chance."
Although he’s happy with the shutout, Farrell knows that there’s still work to be done. The Revolution welcomes the San Jose Earthquakes next week, a team that is now 2-1-0 with five goals scored. Forwards Chris Wondolowski and Innocent Emeghara have looked particularly dangerous and will surely challenge the Revolution’s defense.
The Revs also have issues to address on the attacking end. While this is an area that Farrell isn’t necessarily involved with, it should be noted that the Louisville product nearly got his first ever MLS goal against the Impact. It could have been a moment that made a good night even better.
"I thought I was going to put it on frame," Farrell reflected. "I probably should have kicked it a little bit harder but I was kind of falling back off balance. It would have felt good to score. It’s unfortunate. Maybe next time."