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Freddy Adu's Impact, a Costly debut & bad streaks
by Ridge Mahoney, August 15th, 2011 2:37AM

TAGS:  mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Freddy Adu's return to MLS leads the five most remarkable points of interest from MLS Week 22 action ...

SOME ADU IN PHILLY. A 62-minute stint three days after his signing was announced launched the second-time round for Freddy Adu in MLS. He started and show a few nice touches but didn’t really impact the outcome, a 2-2 tie with FC Dallas in which both Union goals came on Sebastien Le Toux penalty kicks.

Regardless of which position he plays and role he adopts, Adu increases the competition for playing spots at forward and two or three midfield positions, since he can play – to different levels of success – in each of them. As much as what he brings to matches, Adu ratchets up competition on the training field, which isn’t the case on a lot of MLS teams but is a staple for Coach Peter Nowak.

This might seem a retrograde move, but Adu has run out of realistic options in Europe, with a drop to the Turkish second division on his fourth loan move from Benfica a clear sign he’d hit a dead end. Some sparkling play in the Gold Cup has revived his national-team prospects, and at age 22, there’s sufficient time to start climbing back up the learning curve.

KEANE INTEREST IN L.A.? The dealing in Philly might not be done; reports surfaced over the weekend that the Galaxy will ship Juan Pablo Angel east, perhaps to Philly, so it can sign former Irish international striker Robbie Keane.

The Galaxy must clear a Designated Player slot to sign Keane and is probably going to have to eat a lot of Angel’s salary ($1 million) to get a team to take him. How it can absorb this expense is partially explained by the fact Keane, as a third DP in the middle of the MLS season, would only cost $167,500 against the cap – along with a $250,000 penalty paid to teams without three DPs – in 2011.

Keane was on the radar screen of MLS last summer and earlier this year, with Vancouver rumored to be interested in his services. (It instead signed French striker Eric Hassli as a DP for $900,000.) In Philly, Angel would have three fellow Colombians – Faryd Mondragon, Carlos Valdes and Torres – as teammates, and fill the role left vacant when Carlos Ruiz was sold to Mexican club Veracruz.

Combined, the Fire and Quakes are winless in their last 20 games and near the bottom of the overall standings with playoff chances dwindling towards nil.

Chicago tied the MLS record for ties (14) in a 2-2 draw at New York and has gone nine league games in a row without a win. It has tied six of those games and took itself out of contention by failing to win any of its four home matches in span. Recent signing Sebastian Grazzini netted his first MLS goal against New York but the Fire couldn’t hold onto the 2-1 lead it provided.

The Quakes squandered a 1-0 lead at home and fell to Colorado, 2-1, to run their winless streak to 11 games. Coach Frank Yallop was left fuming by refereeing decisions that awarded the Rapids a penalty kick when a low cross struck Sam Cronin’s trailng arm as he slid to block the ball and a red card to Cronin for a midfield tackle that won the ball.

Jeff Larentowicz
guided a low free kick through the defensive wall to leave San Jose winless since June 11. After the game, Yallop said a Brazilian attacker has been signed. It happened last year with DP Geovanni, and that didn’t turn out so well. He scored one goal in 12 games and departed at the end of the season.

COSTLY MOVE MIGHT BE WORTH IT. Another team with a terrible record with DPs – Houston – unveiled its latest ‘name’ signing, Honduran Carlo Costly, in a 2-1 defeat of Portland on Sunday.

Costly wasn’t involved in either of the Dynamo’s scoring plays as Adam Moffat scored a long-range belter against his former team and Brian Ching tucked away what proved to be the winner on a feed from Colin Clark. Yet the Honduran’s brazen dribbles and slashing runs can provide effective counterpoints to the serves of Brad Davis, the finishing of Ching, and the midfield generalship of Geoff Cameron as Houston scraps for a playoff spot.

This year, Spaniard “Koke” was signed as a DP but departed after playing just 233 minutes (one goal). He had been acquired to replace Mexican bust Luis Angel Landin, who – like Costly – arrived on loan.

KUDOS FOR KASEY. Like Yallop, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid didn’t appreciate the officiating in his team’s 0-0 home tie with Chivas USA.

Referee Kevin Stott waved away Sounders' protests in the 89th minute when Lamar Neagle’s dribble in the penalty area was abruptly thwarted by a tackle from David Junior Lopes that cleanly missed the ball and clearly wiped out Neagle. Midfielder Erik Friberg’s protest earned him a yellow card.

Seattle, however, had already fluffed a PK when Alvaro Fernandez’s attempt came back off the base of the post. In a postgame interview, Keller said even from his vantage point 100 yards away it looked like a penalty kick, yet he also adamantly blamed the squandered PK and other Sounders’ misses for the defeat.

Keller’s blunt, matter-of-fact comments were timely as well as refreshing. Seattle is embarking on a brutal run of five games in 15 days. It starts Concacaf Champions League group play Tuesday against Comunicaciones and heads to defending champion Monterrey next week; it plays FC Dallas in a league match and U.S. Open Cup semifinal 10 days apart, and also has a road trip to Columbus.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 8:21 a.m.
    I am of the opinion that Freddie Adu, as a youth, was very talented, grew up fast for his age...but, was just too young an small to go into MLS an should have been allowed to progress an develope normally in his age group or one above. He was used as a promotional tool, watched him play at DC United, in many instances, looked like he was not being tackled because he was just so young an small compared to other players an was "protected" it seemed...this was just not fair to this young man, with talent to burn at his age, he could have been developed much more, been ready for MLS when he was OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE...thus, he was pushed into adulthood just too soon..he lost a lot of valuable training experience in youth this way...I have seen many youth grow up fast, to be caught from behind later on by youth who were late in developement an growth...sort of like the race between the turtle an the hair??

  1. Dannie Whitehouse
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
    I always think sponsors and some scouts are way too quick to give teenagers the nod as the next greatest player. As you can learn from other sports, usually most really "special" players at 14 are peaking way too young, and at 25 are short, hairy and balding. I feel his experiment wouldn't have drug on so painfully long if Nike hadn't tied up so much money in him. Its not his fault, who could blame him, get the money while its there, but all the European Clubs can't be wrong about this guy.(Adu) And please!!! no more runs at the National team, give some new blood a chance.

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
    I agree with what Mr. Irelan says about Adu's past. But now he's been a failure in a second division team in a third rate country and still thinks he should be paid big bucks to return to the MLS. (Chivas turned him down because of his money demands.) There are three people who still believe Adu is a great player--his mother, his agent, and him.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
    Oh ye of little faith! First, to say that Freddy was "too small" and "too young" is akin to saying that Pele at 16 shouldn't have started for Brazil way back when, or Messi, all 5'6" +/- an inch or so, are too small to have started their pro career! I first set eyes on and met Freddy in November '03, when he was but 14 years old and when he was in So Cal with I believe with the US U17 team as they had been training in a local field, and then went to the Home Depot Center for the MLS Cup between Chicago and San Jose. At that time I told my son, that wow, he sure doesn't look as small in person as on tv, 'cause we saw eye-to-eye and I'm 5'6"! So to say that he "was too small" is ludicrous. When he went to play for his then - and now coach - P. Nowak, instead of giving him playing time, he relegated him to the bench.... just in the same narrow-minded approach the NY Red Bull coach is using "against" Agudelo and that is "to protect him...." from what??? Himself? Freddy's age "immaturity" was exactly that, something that played against him, perhaps somewhat petulant, but what mid-teenager isn't? So Freddy, you've a friend way out here in Southern California, and the only thing I will say in closing, jeez, I wish you'd signed with Chivas USA!!!

  1. Dannie Whitehouse
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 5:14 p.m.
    I wished he'd signed with Chivas too, I hate those guys!!! Just kidding

  1. Dannie Whitehouse
    commented on: August 15, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
    ...but he is no Pele or Messi...

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
    size is all in build, not just in height from ground up...past developement in preparation is also a factor of being "ready"..the "gd ole daz" are a thing of the past now. Southern Cal?? look at what the Iowa 94Boys did to them this past march 2011 ODP national finals, in many instances, size does matter...(-:]....players physically just are not developed in their physical stature at age 14, growth plates are not even set yet, in most instances, 19 to 20 is considered that age...Ric, I think you believe I dislike Freddie, just the opposite...I feel bad for the youngster, that he was denied opportunity to develope to his max potential is like pushing a racehorse too fast, they break down...when he came to be a guest at the Menace pdl game in DSM, Ia, broke attendance records that nite..he was a promotional drawing card. I have photos with my son an he in his VIP way would I consent for my son to go pro at age 14, he is a Nat ch of ODP..not bragging, just a fact..when he is 18, if a team were to offer him a high contract, etc...he would have to decide that on his own...but, he knows an education is important, weighing that into the consideration is a strong factor...Freddie was just too young to understand that , mho...if I were able to talk with him, the question I would ask, "if you had it to do over, would you sign pro at that age?"

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 18, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
    A lot has to do with other factors not mentioned here. Mental Maturity is usually a big factor at any age between 14-23. At a young age you defenitely need a great mentor and somebody helping g you make the right decisions. So maybe Adu was lacking in this. There are many young players today that seem to be doing well despite starting as early as 16. The age that the top talent seems to be getting signed to play on pro teams is between 16-18. There are many players that just never mature mentally.

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