[AMERICANS ABROAD] Whether it's Benfica or Monaco, Freddy Adu is finding that it isn't easy to get playing time in Europe. Five weeks after arriving from the Olympics, where he represented the USA, the 19-year-old forward has played just 23 minutes in three brief appearances, though he could get a start on Wednesday when Monaco faces Paris St. Germain in the League Cup.
Competition for playing time is stiff at Monaco, one of the youngest teams in the First Division. It is a respectable ninth in the 20-team Ligue 1, but it has scored only five goals in six games.
The sale of 21-year-old Frenchman Jeremy Menez to Roma for a fee estimated at $16 million meant that one of Adu's main competitors for playing had departed.
Adu's signing on loan from Benfica was big news on the Riviera, but Monaco then went out and signed 23-year-old Korean striker Park Chu Young from FC Seoul, and he has been started the last two games up front with 21-year-old Colombian Juan Pablo Pino.
The first forward off the bench has been Frederic Nimani, the team's leading scorer with three goals.
Still, Monaco coach Ricardo is looking at Adu closely.
"For two weeks, I've looked at him in practice and noticed a change in his rhythm," Ricardo said of Adu. "He's making more runs, he's moving quicker, and he understands the team better. In his finishing, he's also having a lot of success."
For his part, Adu acknowledges he needs to be patient.
"Personally, I obviously would like more time on the field so I can contribute to the team's success," he said in his 100% Freddy column on the Monaco web site. "I have been in this situation before and know that it is part of being a professional soccer player. I only just arrived here and am not discouraged with my progress. Chances will come."
They could come as soon as Wednesday night.
The Monaco-PSG clash is the second of the season at the stade Louis II. Monaco won, 1-0, on the opening day of league play.