[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.
BAD STREAKS. 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.