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Trialists and trainees come and go throughout a season, but it was unexpected to see Michael Farfan at Philadelphia Union's practice session on Monday morning.
Cut by Cruz Azul, Michael Farfan resurfaces at Philadelphia Union training
Oct 12, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan (21) passes the ball as DC United midfielder Lewis Neal (24) looks on during the first half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Trialists and trainees come and go throughout a season, but it was unexpected to see Michael Farfan at Philadelphia Union's practice session on Monday morning.

A source close to the situation said Farfan, the former Union player from 2011 to 2013, was only training with the team and did not confirm whether there was interest from the club or player in signing a new deal.

Farfan left the Union at the beginning of the this season to sign with Cruz Azul in Liga MX. He was released by the club following the 2014 Clausura campaign. 

Farfan was one of three MLS players who departed MLS to join Cruz Azul, along with  San Jose's Rafael Baca and Los Angeles' Jose Villarreal. Baca and Farfan made permanent moves, while Villarreal was sent out on loan. Farfan signed a three year contract with the club but struggled to break into the senior team, featuring mostly in the U20 side and also making the gameday 18 in the CONCACAF Champion's League.

Philadelphia reportedly received a fee for Farfan's transfer and does not currently hold his MLS rights. 

Farfan, and his brother Gabriel, were staples in the lineup during their Philadelphia tenure. A second round draft pick, Mike impressed in his rookie year, scoring two goals and adding three assists in 21 total appearances on Peter Nowak's playoff team. The following year was a bit of a let down, as Farfan transitioned into an attacking midfield role in John Hackworth's 4-3-3. He contributed one goal and five assists in 2,800 minutes over 32 total games.  His minutes and numbers were down in 2013, and he finished his Union stint with just four goals and nine assists in more than 6,000 minutes of play. 

Despite showing flashes of brilliance and 1v1 skill, Union fans debated if his true potential as a playmaker would ever be unlocked.

Philadelphia currently plays midfielders Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira in the creative role. Danny Cruz and Sebastien Le Toux have been preferred in wide areas. 

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6 hrs. ago

M'Baye Niang put the nightmare of the Paris terror attacks firmly behind him with two goals and an assist as AC Milan crushed a sorry Sampdoria 4-1 at the San Siro on Saturday.

Niang admitted last week the events of the past fortnight had left him worried for the safety of family and friends in and around the French capital.

But the 20-year-old from the Paris suburbs produced a confident performance for the Rossoneri, first delivering for Giacomo Bonaventura's opener on 16 minutes and then beating Emiliano Viviano from the spot after the Milan winger had been hauled down in the area seven minutes before the interval.

Niang secured Milan's seventh win of the campaign when he fired under Viviano four minutes after the restart after the 'keeper's fluffed clearance.

When he was replaced by Luiz Adriano 15 minutes from the whistle it took the Brazilian just four minutes to find the net after volleying Alessio Cerci's intelligent cross past Viviano.

The only blot on Milan's copybook was Gianluigi Donnarumma's failure to stop Luis Muriel from the spot after Andrea Pioli had tugged on Eder in the area in the closing minutes.

Milan moved up to fifth place at seven points behind leaders Inter ahead of the remainder of the weekend matches, with Sampdoria's second successive defeat under new coach Vincenzo Montella leaving them 14 points adrift.

"It was an almost perfect performance," said Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who gave a special mention to Niang.

"He's a big player for us, he was doing really well in pre-season then he got injured. Now he's back in form and he's doing well, but he already showed at Genoa (loan) what he was made of."

For the fifth consecutive match Mihajlovic opted for teenage goalkeeper Donnarumma over the more experienced Diego Lopez but the 16-year-old had to dive low to parry after his messy clearance fell to Roberto 

Soriano 30 yards out in the opening minute.

From then on, it was all Milan with Niang the main protagonist before making way for Adriano on 74 minutes.

Having spent the last half of last season on loan at Genoa, the striker said he in enjoying playing in a pure 

striker's role under Mihajlovic.

"I'm really happy because I've been waiting for this for a longtime, the hard work's paying off and I hope it continues like this," said Niang.

"I played as a centre-forward, the position I prefer and I think that along with our win over Lazio this was our best display this season."

Milan broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with Alessio Cerci, whose eighth minute goal was ruled offside, involved before Niang burst down the right to fire in a weighted delivery that Bonaventura slid in to meet at the back post.

Milan built on their momentum and Niang almost doubled the lead when he collected Juraj Kucka's short delivery on the right to drag his angled shot inches wide of Viviano's far post.

Sampdoria were struggling to find any rhythm and Milan's movement in the final third of the pitch was causing huge problems for the visitors.

Niang left Edgar Barreto behind to burst down the right and fire across the bows, but Bonaventura's first-timer from the six-yard line blasted over.

Samp's only real chance came when Luis Muriel dribbled his way into the area but despite turning Milan's defence his promising strike was blocked by Alessio Romagnoli.

Niang came close twice with flicks that inched wide of Viviano's post just after the restart.

But when the 'keeper fluffed a clearance, Niang collected and strode confidently into the area to fire under his body and secure the second brace of his Serie A career, after hitting a double for Genoa against Verona last season.

A tiring Niang soon made way for Adriano and only four minutes later Cerci was given time and space to the right of the area to pick out the Brazilian with a pinpoint pass which he controlled before firing past a helpless Viviano.

Earlier, Torino moved up to seventh place with a 2-0 home win over Bologna thanks to second-half goals from Andrea Belotti and Giuseppe Vives.