Austin, TX (December 30, 2019) A high-class right-back brings boldness and unpredictability into games. With high-level fitness and blistering speed, right-backs are responsible for connecting the defense to the attack on their side of the field. Positioning awareness, crossing accuracy, and intensity separates an average right back from an elite defender.
Sean McFarlane, Bold's right-back, possesses all of the characteristics needed to be both an important part of The Bold attack and bring defensive stability. He easily stands out on the matches by creating dangerous goal-scoring opportunities in tight spaces.
McFarlane finished the 2019 USL Championship season with 964 passes in 33 matches played, with 70.6% passing rate on 681 successful passes, On top of that, McFarlane leads the team with 56 key passes and 12 assists.
As every good right-back, McFarlane was a crossing machine during the 2019 season with a total of 204 crosses, with 60 being successfully completed. From all of his assists, over 80% are crosses. The other 20% of McFarlane’s assists consist of low crosses to the goal area and low passes.
It’s important to highlight that McFarlane has a rate of 29.4% successful crosses per match; a high number even if compared to world-class right-backs. Comparing, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool FC's right-back, has a rate of 24% successful crosses per match. McFarlane averages six crosses per match with an average of 1.8 successful crosses, while his key passes average per match is around 1.7.
McFarlane was incredibly efficient in the final third. For every six crosses attempted, one will be a prospective goal. To put it simply, the more McFarlane passes and crosses, the higher are the chances of The Bold scoring.
Though McFarlane has proven himself more than capable on the offensive side of the game, his defensive skill set should also be highlighted. He has a total of 97 clearances and a 70% successful tackling rate. In addition, his tactical positioning led to 34 oppositional interceptions, a little over one interception per game.
Below are three of the best McFarlane's attacking plays and assists in 2019.
1) El Paso Locomotive FC 1-1 Austin Bold FC
The Bold played El Paso in a thrilling match seeking a spot in the USL Championship playoffs. The first half of the game ended scoreless, but El Paso drew the first blood after a penalty kick. Five minutes later, a long ball was sent to McFarlane on the side, who delivered an amazing cross for the Bold’s equalizer. With the match draw level, the Bold’s dream of going to the playoffs remained alive.
André Lima has never been as well served as when McFarlane assisted for Bold’s leveling goal in El Paso. McFarlane’s crossing edges perfection; it goes high enough to be unreachable for any El Paso defender and it makes a spectacular curve as if the ball was cautiously placed in the attacker’s foot. The crossing translates unpredictability, as McFarlane surprised El Paso’s defense with an early magnificent cross.
2) Portland Timbers 2 1-2 Austin Bold FC
The equalizing goal at Portland seemed simple, but the build-up of it says a lot about McFarlane’s qualities. The play started when McFarlane intercepted the ball in an advanced position on the field and goes on an overlapping run. McFarlane showed an amazing positioning awareness to avoid an offside trap while running at full speed to receive Báez pass. McFarlane picked up his head in search of a Bold striker after sprinting half of the attacking field ahead of Portland’s defense. The cross was precise and found Kris Tyrpak’s head for The Bold’s first goal of the match.
3) Real Monarchs SLC 2-2 Austin Bold FC
McFarlane showed what boldness means when dribbling two Monarchs players, attacking the backline and crossing for Lima’s leveling header. After a deflection by a Real’s defender, Báez passes to McFarlane; who simply glues the ball to his feet and easily dribbles two players squeezed along the sideline. The crossing was, once again, on point. High enough to be unreachable to any defender, but perfect for Lima’s header.