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Freddy vs. DCU? Ain't Happening

Next Saturday was supposed to be the much-anticipated first meeting between Freddy Adu and his former club, D.C. United. RSL officials said they had been assured before the season that, even though the June 23 match was awfully close to Adu's call-up date for the Under-20 World Cup, he would be available to play against United at Rice-Eccles Stadium.


According to RSL, the U.S. Soccer Federation has changed course and will not release Adu for the RSL-DCU match. Adu will have to remain with his under-20 teammates at training camp next week in preparation for the tournament opener June 30 against South Korea in Montreal. The complete u-20 roster was released today.

My take: Why in the world would MLS schedule this match -- one of the few non-Beckham regular season games to have a deliciously intriguing storyline -- at such a delicate time? The league also blew it in terms of Adu's only visit to RFK, which will not take place until September, six months into the season! (Speaking of which, United's home game against RSL will probably be moved from Sept. 26 to Sept. 12 in order for D.C. to play its Copa Sudamericana home game against Chivas late that month. United will likely play at Chivas in early October.)

By Steve Goff  |  June 15, 2007; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Surprised he's being called in; I mean can Adu play any worse? I appears be may have actually regressed in the last 1-2 years.

Posted by: tex | June 15, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Bradley is playing major minutes for the senior team and going to the U-20? He needs to have a huge tournament down there, but wow ...I like the looks of that and him as a player even more now.

He's the one who's earned it, better than Freddy.

And related, Freddy's brother Fro is going to GMU next fall to play. I've seen him five or six times this year in youth play and he's not ready just like his brother wasn't.

Posted by: G-Unit | June 15, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Freddy's brother Fro is going to GMU next fall to play. I've seen him five or six times this year in youth play and he's not ready just like his brother wasn't.

Fro is going to college, where he will learn and develop in a modest environment. He'll be a good college player, in the long run. Freddy skipped that step. Not to say he should've gone to college, but maybe a different environment (Euro youth academy instead of MLS) would've benefitted him.

Posted by: Goff | June 15, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Might be just as well it doesn't happen. Gotta feel for Freddy, whether self induced or not, he seems to be stuck at the moment and coming here, where he would likely be tied up pretty well by United D, would just ad to his misery. Maybe a good run at the U-20 tourney is what he needs. That and a "slap upside the head" to quit talkin and start doin

Posted by: crowbar | June 15, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Surprised he's being called in


He's been team captain of the u-20s.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

As long as Esky plays I'm happy.

I'm guessing you had a story all tee'd up for the return of Freddy. Hence, your disappointment. I think most DCU fans have seen enough of Freddy for his absence to really matter.

I think Freddy is the Ralph Sampson of the MLS. Ralph always drifted outside and played like he wanted to be a guard. Freddy wants so badly to play in the middle of the park but his size and skills dictate that he should get wide and run at defenders.

I hope it works out better for Freddy than it did for Ralph.

Posted by: Tommie | June 15, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Send the league scheduling office to hospital!

Posted by: Piotr Nowak | June 15, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

And I am sure a match with RSL in September will be scintillating...

Posted by: RK | June 15, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

MLS blew it when they decided to schedule all of its games during these tournaments, rather take a break. The season should be March to 1st week of June. Break. Last week of July to end of October. Playoffs in November.

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 15, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I was expecting "another reason MLS should be on the FIFA international calendar" post...

Posted by: RK | June 15, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

how come michael bradley was able to go to europe before he was 18 whereas freddy was not?

Posted by: shaj | June 15, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Look, the MLS schedule is full of stupid things, why should anyone be surprised that this match was scheduled when it was? Why are we playing in the middle of the bloody afternoon on July 4th in KC???? Isn't the point of playing on July 4 to get fireworks watchers into the stadium? Why has Dallas played so many more matches than everyone else already? They're almost halfway thru their schedule and we've not even played 10 games yet.

Posted by: Glenn | June 15, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I know enough to judge whether MLS or the U.S. Soccer Federation shares the bulk of the blame but clearly it behooves everyone to grow the sport in this country. It's pretty dumb to put the kibosh on a game that, to at least a modest degree, had some potential to standout from other games. The fact is, it's not too often we have that.

Then again, we may be expecting the league to walk before it can crawl.

Item 1-, the league's premiere website for buying team paraphernalia is plain awful. It's scary they can't even get this right. In theory, they're trying to grow the league, but missing something this basic.......well, it really makes you wonder who's minding the store (no pun intended).

Posted by: Erik | June 15, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I bet Freddy gave someone in USSF a crate of Sierra Mist to call him in so he didn't have to be embarrassed.

Posted by: Logan Circle | June 15, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Moan...I think you sense of humor is worn out from a tough week :)

Posted by: RK | June 15, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

One final thought. Goff, maybe over the course of the season you can compile a list of ways the league can improve based on your own observations and those of your readers (er, writers) and submit it to the league at the end of the year.

After all, who can't use a little help from time to time?

Posted by: Erik | June 15, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Why are we playing in the middle of the bloody afternoon on July 4th in KC???? Isn't the point of playing on July 4 to get fireworks watchers into the stadium?"

Sunset is at 8:30 Eastern and 7:30 Central. So the fans in KC can watch the fireworks right after the match. Californians will have fireworks at 5:30.


No, I'm not being serious.

Crap, ^L doesn't work on the web.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 15, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Bradley went to Holland when he was 18.

Posted by: Goff | June 15, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

KC-DC game has to be played at noon on July 4 because of a Royals game next door that evening. (They're not allowed to play at the same time, for whatever reason.) Why MLS has chosen to play on July 4 when they can't have a fireworks show is another matter -- which I will explore at a later date.

Posted by: Goff | June 15, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

In Freddy's defense, he couldn't legally go to a European team to develop because of strict FIFA rules regarding the transfer of children. Freddy was property of US Soccer when he signed with MLS and it was his only option to get first team minutes. He could not have signed with any European team to play with their youth teams or reserves. This is a fact that is often misunderstood by many who feel Freddy would be a much better player now had he had that type of training enviornment.

I'm not suggesting Freddy wouldn't be a better player, we'll never know. But if people are suggesting that Freddy would be a better player now by training in Europe with youth players and reserves rather than getting nearly 4 full seasons of professional first team soccer here in the USA, then my feeling is that they severely underestimate the level of soccer in this country.

While Freddy hasn't lit MLS with oodles of goals, he has developed into a soccer player that will help the USA in years to come. He came to MLS as a kid with a million moves on the ball but not a single tactical bone in his body (i,e. had no idea how to defend, where to be on the field and how to get himself open). Now it's arguable that Freddy is stil a bit green on some of the tactics of the game, but he is a very good player no part in thanks to the "treatment" he received here in DC by Peter Nowak. Freddy and many many soccer fans might not see the results now, but they will when he gets to be 23-25 years old.

Posted by: A Rickey | June 15, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I should make a snarky comment about:

1) Hospitals
2) Chalk
3) Freddy not seeing the field in a United game.
4) The further adventures in incompetence of the RSL front office.

Posted by: Kim | June 15, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

If Freddy doesn't have an impact at the U20 tourney, USA will not do very well.

Posted by: JSF | June 15, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Freddy could have gone to Europe as an amateur and entered an academy, like many young Americans over the years (O'Brien, Kirovski, etc.).

Posted by: Goff | June 15, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"A Rickey" nails the official rule, however, misses the loop-hole so often employed by under-18 young guns who join club youth academies in Europe from non-European countries.

Many promising under-18 youngsters can play for club youth academies in Europe if their parents (a) happen to move to Europe for "work" purposes, and (b) happen to bring their kids with them to Europe. The loop-hole is used and abused by a host of large clubs and, I suspect, this loop-hole was "made available" to Freddy and his mother. Rumor has it that Freddy received a generous invitation from a Seria A youth academy many years ago.

For whatever reason (of which there is likely an endless list of good reasons from a single mom's perspective), Freddy's mom chose to keep the boys close to her here in the U.S.

Posted by: Mickey | June 15, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping to avoid the obvious when it comes to the loopholes involved with the rules.

Freddy is and was an exceptional case and any attempt to lure his mother over to Europe for strictly employment purposes would have been paper thin and most likely rejected by FIFA.

Therefore, again, his best option available to him was MLS.

O'Brien and Kirovski were over in Europe before the passing of the FIFA ruling about underage players.

If Adu had the same opportunity that both JOB and Kirovski had at their young ages, no doubt about it Adu would currently be playing in Europe.

Posted by: A Rickey | June 15, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse


While O'Brien and Kirovski are good examples of players that have gone over and trained in academies, their career paths are hardly something we want anyone to replicate.

Posted by: Kim | June 15, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

O'Brien was with Ajax for six years, won a couple of league titles, made some nice cash, caught the attention of U.S. coaches, played in a World Cup -- not a bad career until injuries derailed it.

Posted by: Goff | June 15, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

true dat. That sucks.

Posted by: say say | June 15, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

these kind of things happen all the time. the U-20s matches is no reason to give the season a break.

Posted by: cahyo | June 16, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

The league's getting better but the scheduling is still a bit screwy. IMHO in the MLS no team should have to play more than 2 road games in a row. That's not so bad but you have teams that are in situations where they're playing 7 of their next 9 or 5 of their next 6 games on the road. Until the league can do a better job of getting around those issues I wouldn't expect to see them schedule some of those more interesting games. It's too bad, it would've been more interesting to see DCU at RSL last thursday than the RSL-FCD game that was played.

Posted by: Allen | June 17, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

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