So, after a night of stepovers, multiple touches and perhaps little else, Freddy Adu left the US Men’s National Team today to rejoin his teammates at Benfica in Portugal, where he will use the preseason to either find more playing time or show well enough to drum up interest elsewhere.
Adu is rejoining his club team.
Adu scored in the 4-0 win over Grenada in the opening game of the Gold Cup, but looked a bit overwhelmed by the moment last night during his 63 minutes in the 2-0 win vs. Honduras. When he got the ball in dangerous position, he often took one, two, or five too many touches and worked himself into trouble.
His series of stepovers in one sequence led only to a non-threatening shot that hit the outside of the side netting to the Honduran goalkeeper’s left.
Adu didn’t have a bad game. I’m not sure that anyone in a US uniform had a bad game last night – and hell, I think even Bob Bradley did a good job. But for all of us, myself included, who had been calling for Adu to see the field and get minutes throughout the Confederations Cup, it was perhaps a dose of reality that in fact, maybe he’s not quite ready. There are skills he certainly brings to the table, and the door to the National Team shouldn’t be shut on him forever. I think he can still play a valuable role in the team going forward.
Whether that role is going to be featured in the 2010 World Cup is another matter. It sounds from Bradley’s quotes in the linked article that this departure was planned. That seems understandable to me for a player who has struggled recently to get club minutes. And with the US having gained maximum points from the first two matches, there’s little need to keep him here for the Haiti match on Saturday.
But it’s a critical time for Adu. There are still skills and such he needs to learn, and there’s something – I’m not quite sure what it is, to be honest – that isn’t quite there yet at the National Team level for him to succeed. He needs minutes. This move is a bit of a gamble, because if things don’t work out for him and he doesn’t see significant time for his club (whatever club that may be), and he’s missed out on US games in the process, then it’s the worst of both worlds.
I hope it works out for the best. While there are particular things you can fairly question about his game last night, I am still in the camp of believing there is potential there and that Adu can be a significant player on the US scene for years to come.