FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the New EnglandRevolution return to league action in two weeks following the Copa America break, don't be surprised if defender Andrew Farrell gets more looks at a familiar role.
Barely a year-and-a-half after making the full-time switch to center back, Farrell made a surprise start at right back -- his former position -- against Seattle over the weekend. And if his head coach is to be believed, it might've been a preview of coming attractions.
"I think it's something you're going to see more of," Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. "I think it's something that we've talked about for a while; I think it's been about a couple weeks. Farrell is such a great player for us."
Saturday's match was the first time since 2014 that the former first overall pick was stationed at right back, a spot that Farrell made a name for himself at during his rookie season. That success extended itself into his sophomore campaign, and it appeared that Farrell was on the fast track to a possible U.S. National Team call-up.
But after longtime Revolution center back A.J. Soares made an abrupt move overseas following the 2014 season, Heaps asked his talented right back to assume Soares' role going into the 2015 season. To his credit, Farrell accepted the new assignment with an open mind.
The results, though, were mixed, to put it mildly.
Partnered alongside seasoned center back Jose Goncalves, Farrell unsurprisingly struggled out of the gate. Even though the mistakes eventually became less frequent, the Goncalves-Farrell partnership never seemed to mesh the way Heaps had originally anticipated.
After seeing too many defensive miscues during his club's first 13 games, the Revolution coach felt the time had come to switch things up in the rear. And for his part, Farrell seemed happy be back at his old spot.
"It felt fun to play out there," Farrell said. "At first with Juan [Agudelo] and with Teal [Bunbury] out there, and Scotty [Caldwell] kind of coming in the middle and London [Woodberry] back there. It felt great."
With Woodberry, who was originally signed as a center back, taking over the spot next to Goncalves on Saturday, the Revolution defense put in one of their best performances of year. But what Heaps saw from Farrell himself was exactly what he hoped to get out of the fourth-year defender.
"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," Heaps said. "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."
While Farrell has always said he isn't picky about where he plays on the pitch, he admitted that it took him a little bit of time to get reacclimated to a spot that he may very well see more time at as the season progresses.
"Yeah, I mean, whatever coach needs. 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."