At just 17 years old, D.C. United's Freddy Adu is set for his first start in a Major League Soccer playoff game on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium. Two years after his MLS
debut, Adu is playing a far greater role in United coach Peter Nowak's plans. "Last year, I just felt like I wasn't a big part of this team's offense," Adu told reporters after practice on
Wednesday. "I felt like I wasn't a big part of the team, to be honest with you. So I just felt kind of left out a little bit. This year, obviously, I'm a big part of the team's offense." In fact, Adu
is a safe bet to be on the field from the start of the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals: during the regular season he averaged 79 minutes in 29 starts out of 32 appearances. He was also
picked for the MLS All-Star team. "Freddy has to thank himself for the way he played this year. Very good stuff," Nowak, who was recently short-listed for MLS's Coach of the Year award, said. "He
understands what the team demands from him and what the coaching staff demands from him and what the expectations are. He's mature enough right now ... and that's why his game is much, much, much
better and ... he enjoys himself."
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