New England Soccer Today

Heaps: Farrell ‘A Natural’ at CB

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

After spending the first two years of his professional career primarily at right back, Andrew Farrell was moved to center back following the departure of A.J. Soares during the offseason. And in the view of his coach, the former right has taken to his new role well.

Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media via teleconference on Friday that he’s liked what he’s seen from the converted center back, who’s been stationed alongside captain Jose Goncalves during the Revolution’s first three preseason games.

“Farrell, for me, is a natural at that position,” Heaps said. “Both (Farrell and Goncalves) have been really good, and I think individually, both of them are excellent.”

Moving centrally wasn’t exactly a big ask for Farrell. He spent the first portion of his sophomore year at the University of Louisville featuring as a holding midfielder before splitting time between right back and center back during the Cardinals’ final nine games. In fact, his versatility was one of the reasons why the Revolution traded up to the first pick to acquire him at the 2013 SuperDraft.

He spent the entirety of his rookie season at right back, but last year, injuries and suspensions forced Farrell to slide centrally for 10 games – and looked particularly adept in the role. But because he was partnered with Goncalves in only three of those matches, Heaps has made it a priority to get both on the pitch at the same time as often as possible this winter.

In Wednesday’s Desert Diamond Cup opener, the duo came on for the second half, and helped shut down a first-rate Real Salt Lake squad that featured Alvaro Saborio, Sebastian Jaime, and Javier Morales. Mind you, there were still a handful of dodgy moments, which is to be expected during the preseason.

So far, though, Heaps seems to be confident that the Farrell-Goncalves partnership will only get stronger as each gets more accustomed to the other.

“I think they’re doing a good job,” Heaps said. “They’re communicating well, and Jose has obviously played the position for awhile. Now, it’s a matter of (creating) that synergy and (having) that relationship to continue to grow. And it takes time.”

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