Sometimes I wonder how many more pageviews you get when you add “Freddy Adu” to the title of an article. For a player that has been talked about more than any in US soccer history, Adu continues to make headlines simply for continuing to play soccer. “Will Freddy do this/that/the other?” Here’s the rub: Nobody knows! Freddy Adu has always been supremely skilled and maddeningly inconsistent. Any team – national or club – that is hoping for anything different better have a new approach to handling Freddy Adu. Caleb Porter thinks he has one, putting the playmaker on the wing and letting him dictate play on one side of the pitch. The role is a backhanded compliment, as it says Adu is too good to keep on the bench but not good enough to be the Luka Modric he believes he is. No matter what Adu is asked to do, he always says the right things and he makes no secret about his personal goals. And that’s all I will ever ask of him. He can’t be something he’s not.
In its MLS weekend preview, The Shin Guardian says the Union have questions at left back. “One of the big issues will be the play of Porfirio Lopez at the left full-back position for the Union. He was ritually abused by Kalif Alhassan during last weeks game and will be matched up against Omar Cumming and Brian Mullan. Mullan isn’t known for his blazing speed, and Lopez might have just had a bad week; but the game will show if Danny Califf gets pulled out of position to cover Lopez, or if Lopez plays at all. Also the 4-5-1 for Union didn’t seem to lend itself well in terms of controlling the ball with Freddy Adu frequently lapsing defensively on the right side of the pitch. Gabriel Gomez certainly struck a fantastic free kick for Union and was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster performance.”
Here is your official MLS match preview of the Union-Rapids showdown. Keon Daniel made his return to the Union lineup last week, and MLS asked him what he expects to accomplish this season: ”Last year was a learning experience in the league. This year I’m hoping for big things and I’m hoping to carry this team as far as possible.”
MLSSoccer’s Chris Bianchi says the Rapids’ secret weapon against the Union will be “experience.” Local lad Jeff Larentowicz thinks Colorado needs to dominate early to take the PPL Park crowd out of the game: “It’s definitely about managing that first part of the game,“ said Larentowicz, who is expecting more than 100 family and friends to be in the stands as he returns home. “Especially coming off of a loss, they’re going to be high energy, Peter [Nowak, Union manager] I’m sure has been training them hard. I’m sure weathering the first 15 to 20 minutes is going to be important for us.”
NBC lead commentator Arlo White offers a video breakdown of the Union/Rapids matchup this weekend. He has a British accent, so much of what he says sounds correct.
Uwishunu is nice enough to remind Philly folk that PPL is likely to sell out, so get your tickets and tailgate spot pronto if you want to drink off that St. Paddy’s Day hangover by the 4pm kickoff.
FoxNews has a pretty nice summary of how the Union and Rapids performed last weekend.
Don Garber talks to Forbes about the long-term goals of MLS and how the league will invest new money flowing in.
Kudos to Montreal if they can really pack out Olympic stadium with 60,000 people today. That will make for a fantastic atmosphere.
Brek Shea blogs about the razzing he took from some of the more experienced US national team players. Shea had to stand on a chair, sing, and answer tough questions. He was so nervous and tired that the only question he remembers came from Clint Dempsey: ”Can you hold your hands up during this whole thing, so we can see your pit stains?”
ESPN’s Mark Young thinks Carlos Bocanegra would be a great addition to an EPL side when he is released by Rangers. He thinks the USMNT captain’s game “has matured” since the 2010 World Cup.
Grant Wahl explains why the USWNT get an Olympic bonus while the men do not: “What explains the discrepancy in Olympic soccer bonus money? Well, the Olympics is a senior-level event on the women’s side, while it’s an under-23 tournament (with three overage players allowed per team) on the men’s side, the better for it not to compete with the World Cup. The bonus money for the U.S. women was negotiated as part of the senior team’s collective bargaining deal with U.S. Soccer, while the under-23 men’s team doesn’t have a collective bargaining agreement with the federation.That said, there’s nothing preventing the U.S. men’s senior team from negotiating an Olympic medal bonus for the under-23 team in its own CBA, especially since the team will likely include those three overage senior players. It just hasn’t happened that way.”
I wonder what Simon Borg thinks about the LA Galaxy’s new 10-year, $44 million shirt sponsorship agreement with Herbalife. LA and NY definitely don’t have a financial advantage over other clubs, you crazy conspiracy theorists. The Galaxy will probably use that $44 mil to develop a new David Beckham-based line of stadium food. BecksBurgers, hot “Cross” buns, etc. What they definitely won’t do is invest that money in DPs, developing a far superior youth system, or other things that might give them considerable on-field advantages. Noooope.
In case you missed it, the Champions League and Europa League draws took place yesterday. The key matchup is clearly Barca v Milan.