After spending the last year and a half playing center back, Andrew Farrell returned to the spot he played as a rookie, right back. The 24-year-old looked comfortable with the move and helped limit the Seattle Sounders to just two shots on target. More than a one-time adjustment, Farrell could continue to patrol the right side.
The New England Revolution entered the season with Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, Farrell and Je-Vaughn Watson as their first-choice defenders. Uncontrollable circumstances, such as injuries and suspensions, have forced head coach Jay Heaps to shuffle his backline on multiple occasions. Saturday was one such instance as Watson is currently away with Jamaica for the Copa America Centenario.
Although Heaps could've kept his center back tandem intact, the gaffer opted to play London Woodberry in the middle and move Farrell to the right. It was a decision aimed at getting the most out of Farrell.
"The idea was that we knew Farrell, he’s such a good right back and we thought well, do we want to get him in his most comfortable spot," Heaps explained. "It was an idea that we had been talking about for a little while and finally it came the right time to do it."
Farrell showed no signs of rust and ended the night with team-highs in touches (81) and tackles (6). The fourth-year player also created two chances as he used his speed to get up and down the flank.
In sum, it was a solid performance that impressed Heaps. In fact, Farrell could be spending more time at right back in the future.
"I think it’s something you’re going to see more of," Heaps explained. "Farrell is such a great player for us and I think what happens is sometimes the center back, he’s matched up man and he can’t read the game in terms of playing as freely as he’d like.
"Tonight, you saw, it was a little different energy from him. He was freer, able to step in and win balls, able to play balls without having immediate pressure on him, getting in good angles."
Regardless of if he's playing as a center or right back, Farrell just wants to be on the field collecting three points on a weekly basis.
"I’ll play wherever he tells me," Farrell said. "Obviously, through the week I had to work on it. A little more fitness than playing center back, but it was fun, and again, glad that we got the result."