Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time to See the Real Freddy Adu

Ok, apologies for the gratutious pun. I felt obliged to make a pun since I avoided the obvious Adu/adieu pun. Anyway...

As most of you haven't heard; DC United has shipped off Freddy Adu to Real Salt Lake. DC United gets a few bits and pieces, most notably the "major player allocation", but that's not the interesting thing about all of this.

I am a soccer fan, but I'm not going to say I'm big on the MLS. Frankly, it's much more boring than the international game, and I even have a hard time watching the Fire sometime. (If you're at a game, that's a whole different story; I looove going for Fire games.) This deal has me genuinely excited for the upcoming season. I'm curious, just as many are, whether or not Freddy Adu is really that good. There of course have been flashes of greatness, but no runs of prolonged genius.

A bulk of the blame for this can be blamed on Adu's former situation. DC was stacked at the attacking midfield position, which is Adu's preferred position. So instead, Adu was played at right mid-field. This position did not suit him as he has had difficulty with crossing with his right foot since he is a lefty. The other problem with his position is that DC playes with only three defenders across their back line, which forced Freddy to back track and play a lot more defense.

Real Salt Lake offers him a great opportunity. He'll be playing under his former U-17 National Team coach, so he'll likely be given the keys to the car, and will be featured at attacking mid. Just the trust situation between Freddy and his coach, I think, will boost his game a bunch. At times Adu looked restrained while playing; it looked like he would avoid riskier plays because of the fear of upsetting his Peter Nowak (his former coach, who he didn't get along with). That situation reminded me of Ben Gordon and Scott Skiles. Skiles at tiems has the quickest hook imaginable with Benny G.; one small mistake can result in a benching for him. Now that Freddy is with a coach he in on good terms with, he can play more freely and instinctively without having the fear of getting benched in the back of his mind.

Looking at the big picture, I don't think his performance in Utah is going to make or break his prospects of playing in Europe. I'd peg that more on his performance in the upcoming U-20 World Cup. Assuming the US qualifies, it will be his third such tourney, and it will pit him against the world's best and brightest prospects. If he dazzles there, or even just performs well, he will draw pretty heavy interest from European clubs.

This trade affords Freddy the chance to finally show the masses (at least in the States) what he can do. It won't necessarily make or break his chances in Europe, but it will go a long way to determining his star power in the US.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12/13/2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous J said...

While saluting you for at least being a soccer fan, I must say that this post shows you don't have much knowledge in the game itself. The Nash comparison couldn't be more wrong, given that wing midfielders have basically the same advantage playing on either side of the field. It depends mostly on the player. If you play on your side you have the obvious advantage you referr to, but if you play on the opposite side, you have de possibility of breaking inwards and facing the goal straight on with the best angle for your natural foot. This is what both Ronaldinho (uses his left foot scarcely, but plays on the left) and Leo Messi (as lefty as they come, but plays on the right) do on Barcelona (greatest team in the world for the last couple of years), as so do many others. In other words, where you play the best depends more on talent, speed or your team's tactic, than on which is your better foot.

12/13/2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous J said...

Also, the biggest factor in him packing for Europe is not where he plays or his perfomance (though this probably will be a big factor) but the bloated salary he receives here as a teenager. He will most likely be forced to take a paycut unless he absolutely destroys in the U-20s, which I doubt.

12/13/2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

Duly noted J.

Let's just say I stretched the truth and exagerated a bit, hoping to bank on the ignorance of readers to drive home a point. I agree that playing on a wing won't necessarily limit you using that foot, but I still think it is a disadvantage to some, especially for Adu.

12/13/2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything depends on the player at the wing - you very rarely see Beckham on the left side. If you are an attacker, you can play opposite your foot; if you are a server, you stay on your strong foot's side. If you are Ronaldinho, you can play anywhere.

12/14/2006 12:26 AM  

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