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(Too) Much Adu (and it earned us) About Nothing

The Freddie Adu Experiment is underway.  It’s a two-fold experiment:  One side is Freddie proving that his positive performances with the U.S. National Team are a product of his overall maturation, and the other side is adding player into the Union side with less than half of the season left to play.

Adu’s path back to Major League Soccer has been circuitous, to say the least.  He was signed by a Portugese team, and was loaned to teams in Greece, Turkey, and probably some recreation league teams and we just didn’t know about it.  The point is, his passport has more ink than Lizardman’s body.  The fact that he never locked down a spot with a top team was not all that surprising considering the modest success he enjoyed in MLS prior to that.  Yes, he had youth on his side, but if one is to believe that he was the savior of soccer, shouldn’t he have been near the league’s best player?  He re-emerged, however, as a surprise addition to the CONCACAF Gold Cup roster, and acquitted himself quite nicely.  It could be said that in the last 2 matches of that tournament that he was the best American (damn that Giovani Dos Santos!).  The propaganda that we’re being sold, er, the explanation is that he is still just 22 years old, and world football is tough.  Freddie has been forged in the fires of superior training and higher-level strategy, and he is a new-and-improved version of the petulant, entitled brat, who used to mouth off to Coach Nowak (how he lived to tell about it, we’ll never know.  He must have some scandalous photos).

His developement is all well and good.  A team can never be at a loss for quality players, regardless of the sport.  There is this simple matter of timing to be considered, however.  Freddie was added to this team with roughly 1/3 of the team’s matches left to play.  That doesn’t leave much time for him to find his fitness, and then figure out how the hell he’s going to fit with this team.  I fully expected Adu to be in the starting XI this past Saturday vs. FC Dallas.  The jerseys were already on sale (and if you think that doesn’t matter, you’re just clueless), and there was just so much hype and buzz about the signing.  I don’t disagree with him getting minutes right away, but there were certain things he should have been aware of before coming on to the field, and observing from the bench would have taught him the following:

Justin Mapp only has one functional leg, Sebastien Le Toux couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat (unless the ball is stationary 12 yards from goal with only a keeper in front of him), there are 2 Farfans and they both play out of position (Gabe at left back, Mike at bench), Brian Carroll is zero part of the offense, Keon Daniel should be logging the lion’s share of the minutes at left midfield, Danny Mwanga is really talented but confused by his lack of minutes, and Jack McInerney is in the same boat.

My feeling is that for the rest of this month, Adu’s inclusion is going to be seen as a distraction and a disruption.  This period of adjustment will only yield more draws, as the team will once again have to find an identity.  I applaud the front office for trying something to get the team out of its rut of drawing matches, so that it can make the playoffs.  Chemistry is vital in team sports, and Union do not have it.  Players do not seem to know where to be, nor do they know what one another are thinking.  There is seemingly no system in place to govern how players move without the ball.  They don’t play enough minutes with the same team to inately understand where the passes are going.  The addition of Adu, while good for the long-term, will continue this discombobulated trend.  There is a saying in sports that it’s not how you start, but how you finish.  If Union can’t get this figured out soon, there finish will come after the 34th game of their season.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

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  1. djkw418
    August 19, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Dan’s note:

    1) I’m back from vacation. Now that this blog has gotten it’s act together, i’m going to bring it down again.
    2)

    To add to Nick’s thought’s with the adaptation of the team as a whole with playing style and identity – there is much of a problem with some of our youth talent (read: Adu, McInerney, Mwanga) playing a little, fancy for lack of a better term. What is needed is basic pass, touch, pass soccer and pass, touch, shoot soccer. What we have instead is Adu playing 2 classes ahead of the rest of the team, McInerney trying to play like he’s in the Italian league with too many attempts at back passes, and Mwanga just thinking he’s ahead of the team. What Nowak needs to do, and Adu now, is get the team in gear in just thinking basics. It won’t be pretty, it won’t make top ten, but if we stop trying to get the tricky play (this includes Valdes with his one foot up attempts to stop the ball) we can succeed.

  1. August 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM

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