Is Union midfielder Michael Farfan bound for Mexico? Es posible

Is Union midfielder Michael Farfan bound for Mexico? Es posible
December 20, 2013, 3:40 pm
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According to a post (in Spanish) on ESPNFC.com, Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan was one of three Major League Soccer players who took physicals today with Cruz Azul, one of the top teams in Liga MX, the Mexican professional league. (If you use Google Chrome, you can translate it into English and make it slightly readable -- and funny).

Reports are still unconfirmed outside of the ESPNFC story, with a few Union reporters, like Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald working to confirm with the team.

The tweet below is from Tom Marshall, who covers the Mexican league for ESPNFC.

ESPN report says that Jose Villarreal, Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan all took a medical at Cruz Azul today.

— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) December 20, 2013

Unlike most other professional sports, or even most soccer leagues around the world, signing players away from MLS is not as simple as it might seem. So even if Farfan wants to go, this isn't an open-and-shut case.

So how can a guy who many have been lukewarm on for more than a year now (including me) and who isn't a guaranteed starter for a non-playoff MLS team jump into a top Mexican side? Well, he likely will be loaned to a second-division club.

Same ESPN story on Baca, Farfán and Villarreal says that Luis Fernando Tena will decide whether they go to Liga MX or CA Hidalgo in 2nd div.

— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) December 20, 2013

If Farfan -- who has Mexican heritage but has played for the United States Under-17 team -- wants to go, and Cruz Azul wants him badly enough, MLS and the Union will find a way to make it happen (don't forge  that player movement is not entirely up to the teams, as players are technically property of the league, not a team).

A great find from the @UnionRumors page on Twitter: Cruz Azul already has a bio page on its website for Farfan:

.@MichaelFarfan88's bio page on @Cruz_Azul_FC's website http://t.co/X9bSr01UbQ #DOOP

— Union Rumors (@UnionRumors) December 20, 2013

The question is what this says about the Union and/or MLS, that a player -- an American -- would want to leave MLS for what will likely be a spot on  a second division team in Mexico. In my opinion, it doesn't mean much -- the sky is not falling for American soccer.

Farfan was clearly not especially high on John Hackworth's list this season. He started 22 games and played in 29 in 2013, one year after starting 31 times. He might have visions of a Cruz Azul uniform in his future, and doesn't want to turn down the opportunity.

As for the Union, it would be another hole to fill in an offseason that has been spent doing not much at all. I think the Union could do better than Farfan in the starting XI, but he is a useful player with some room to grow. I'd argue though, that his his ceiling is decidedly lower than many thought when he was drafted 23rd overall in the 2011 draft.

UPDATE: This comes from Brian Sciaretta, who writes for American Soccer Now and the New York Times Goal Blog.

What I am hearing is that Villarreal, Farfan, & Banca are looking set to join Cruz Azul on 1 year (calendar) loans with options to buy

— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) December 20, 2013

 

UPDATE: The league's official website with some details of the story.

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