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The 'One Magician Model', October 19th, 2007 5PM



A recent post on suggests that Freddy Adu's 15 minutes during the U.S. national team's 1-0 win over Switzerland on Wednesday promised something the U.S. been decidedly lacking over the years: that little bit of game-changing magic and imagination possessed by very few players. The national team has never had that type of player before -- referred to by the post's author as a "magician." Perhaps it's time that Freddy be given a chance to grow into that role.

Ironically, the so-called "one magician model" has been very much the cornerstone for successful teams in MLS -- except that the likes of Marco Etcheverry, Peter Nowak and now, Christian Gomez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Dwayne De Rosario aren't American. L.A.'s Landon Donovan has filled that role to a certain extent, but even he doesn't provide the kind of spark that turns good teams into great teams.

"I bring this up here because I think the United States is one magician away from being a very good team," the author says. "We're a good team now, capable of getting results. We're also pretty predictable" -- lacking that element of surprise that can break down organized defenses. Freddy against Switzerland provided that kind of imagination: he made Clint Dempsey look better, Steve Cherundolo's runs more effective and he should have, for all intents and purposes, been given a penalty after being kicked in the face.

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