Some things never change, even within the Philadelphia Union. One of those things is that the team will employ wingbacks for the fourth consecutive season and Gabriel Farfan will play the same role that he has started in since the middle of the 2011 season.
"I think as a starting point it should be said that Gabe Farfan is our starting left back," Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth said at his Monday press conference. "That's where we start from."
Hackworth went on to praise Farfan's talent level out of the back, describing him as among the top at his position.
"He is without a doubt one of the best left backs in terms of just soccer ability," Hackworth said.
The former Cal State Fulerton standout was known as an attacking midfielder before joining the Union and has a reputation, since joining MLS, for his dribbling skills and also for endline runs reminiscent of his brother, Michael Farfan.
While decisively batted away criticism of Farfan's defensive flaws out of the back, Hackworth, entering his first full season as head coach of the Union, pointed to the 24-year-old as the perfect player for the team's tactical style.
"He might not be a true left back but the way that we play and our style, we want our left back to be an attacking left back."
Philadelphia also acquired left back Damani Richards, of the Trinidad and Tobago under-20 youth national team, as a back up, and plan on using second round SuperDraft selection Dan Anding as a versatile left winger and left back.
Farfan has played in 45 games for the Union, 40 of them starts, predominately at left back. Philadelphia signed Farfan as a free agent after he left Club America's reserve team and fought for a roster spot during the 2011 preseason.
(All quotes taken from Jonathan Tannenwald's @thegoalkeeper Twitter feed, who transcribed Hackworth's press conference almost in entirety on the social media network.)