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Tuesday Kickaround

I am heading down to RFK this morning for D.C. United's formal introduction of Curt Onalfo as head coach and will provide coverage on Twitter and the Insider. You can watch the proceedings live on the club's Web site starting at 10 a.m. Meantime, chew on this:

*Freddy Adu's move to Greek club Aris is in its final stages. To recap, his journey has taken him from D.C. United to Real Salt Lake to Benfica, Monaco, Belenenses and now Aris. All before turning 21 years old.

If this arrangement doesn't work out, Adu's overseas options seem certain to dry up. You'll hear a lot of talk about him returning to MLS, but how much money would a salary cap-strapped club be willing to pay him? It's not like he is going to provide an attendance boost again and his sparse playing time (presumably caused by inadequate training performance) has relegated him to questionable status.

*Expect MLS trade talks to heat up later this week when coaches and general managers begin gathering at the scouting combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

*Soccer America names its USA national team all-decade squad (reserves in parentheses):
GK Kasey Keller (Brad Friedel, Tim Howard).
Ds Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Pope, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo (Oguchi Onyewu, Gregg Berhalter, Tony Sanneh).
MFs Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, DaMarcus Beasley (Eddie Lewis, John O'Brien, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis).
Fs Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride (Josh Wolff, Earnie Stewart, Brian Ching).

*Today's English Carling Cup semifinal first leg between host Blackburn and Aston Villa has been postponed because of poor weather.

By Steve Goff  |  January 5, 2010; 7:49 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad , D.C. United , England , MLS , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: D.C. United News and Notes

Comments

Does the Insider do Happy Hour?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 5, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Only at Black Finn...

Posted by: redskinsux | January 5, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Adu must be one of the following:

1. lazy
2. a locker room cancer
3. overconfident

or a combo of all three. Novak must be smiling when reading these reports.

Posted by: horace1 | January 5, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I'm going to join the boat of people heaping on Adu for not living up to what everyone thought he was.

I think he's still an above average talent in the US, but that's all. He happened to get some good chances at a young age and the media and marketers tried to build him into something he may never have truly been.

I don't think Novak smiles when he sees the lack of success Frddy is having. I think he sees a kid who was being brought along at a decent pace who had other people whispering in his ear at the wrong time.

I hope that Greece provides him the chance to get some playing time. Like him or not, it's only by consistently getting on the field that Freddy will ever have a chance to become something of a professional.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 5, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Adu must be one of the following:

1. lazy
2. a locker room cancer
3. overconfident

or a combo of all three. Novak must be smiling when reading these reports.

Posted by: horace1
------------------

...or not. other than one outburst at age 15 when he was with DCU, no one in a position to know has ever accused Adu of any of those things. at all three of those European stops the coach or official who brought him in was fired. that's a bad run of luck, but there is no way to blame Adu.

I do not understand why people love to hate this guy. at Benfica he had the highest goal per minutes played average on the team and was hailed as the best import the team had. he's always shown very well for the MNT. what's not to like?

I suppose it is typical of the internet...some people just love to trash others.

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

on the all decade list, I'd rather see Friedel and Gooch in place of Keller and Pope. No disrespect to the latter two, but Friedel has had just as good a club career and better results with the MNT than Keller and Gooch has had just as good a MNT career and a better club career than Pope.

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Interesting all decade team. The Eddie Pope days feels a lot longer ago to me then just the beginning of the decade. Oh well. I would be interested in seeing a 1990 All Decade Team.

Posted by: nyjer1 | January 5, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

At last! Somebody who tells it like it is about Adu. I hope the kid makes it, but this loan to Aris really needs to work out for him or, as you said, his options start to take a big dip.

Posted by: mddeblois | January 5, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it is typical of the internet...some people just love to trash others.

Posted by: troy6

You're right.

horace, you're an idiot. Trying doing some research or follow his career a bit before you make such broad generalizations.

Adu did have that option for Odense, but they wouldn't pay enough. Again, this is going to be about what Benfica can get back in return. At this point, they may do anything to get of him. Who knows? With the coaching turnover there in the last few years, it is hard to read into the situation.

Adu was doing just fine at Benfica until their 3rd coach came in. He didn't want him (which is understandable -- he's a 20-year-old creative player -- tough to turn your offense over to someone like that). Monaco was a farce -- the coach (who, of course, got fired at the end of the season) never wanted him.

Belenenses? Who knows on this one. Adu said that he was excited, that the coach wanted to play him. Well, he got 10 minutes; no surprise that that coach was fired, too, as the team had the 2nd-lowest goals for. Adu absolutely could've helped that awful, awful team; Felipe Bastos, also a Benfica loanee, was returned from Belen to Benfica when he complained that the coach wasn't giving fair PT to the loanees.

All that to say is that, although there seem to have been extenuating circumstances, when he has actually been given the chance (early Benfica), he has done well. The problem now is getting him into the right situation to play, and his huge contract makes it difficult unless Benfica still views Adu as an investment, Adu wants to take a pay cut by mutually terminating, or another team is willing to take on the expense. Odense wasn't.

Posted by: Reignking | January 5, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Friedel definitely deserves the top honor, not Keller. I guess the postponement means Guzan will have to wait to start dueling Howard for the honor in the next decade.

Hoping this move does work out for Freddy. As the post above notes, he does seem to do well when he plays -- at least, with his offense. If he played more, it seems reasonable to expect the goals would come. Perhaps this is a move that will get him into the starting XI in short order.

Closer to home -- Welcome, Curt Onalfo. Please ignore the criticism you will read here. We don't know what we're talking about....except, of course, Chest.

Posted by: fischy | January 5, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Johnson got loaned to a Greek team also.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 5, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

VF - Johnson and Adu are both going to Aris.

Their coach will be Hector Cuper, who was considered one of the top coaches in Europe not too long ago. He led Valencia to consecutive Champions League Finals (but lost both) and then went on to Inter Milan. I wonder if he's been impressed by Adu and EJ due to some previous youth tournament performances or whether it's just a case of January bargain basement shopping by a middling club with a formerly famous manager.

I wish them both the best in Greece. Here's Cuper's wikipedia bio:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Cuper

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 5, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=4796555

ESPN 3D to show soccer, football, more

Posted by: Reignking | January 5, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

""Gooch has had just as good a MNT career and a better club career than Pope.""

Whoa, cowboy. Pope was a fixture on the MNT until 2006. He started all 5 WC matches en route to the quarters in 2002 in Korea.

He would have played an equal role in Germany, had it not been for a shady red against Italy.

Gooch played his first MNT in 2004.

In short, Gooch doesn't have the laurels of Pope on the MNT.

As far as clubs . . most of Pope's United days were in the 90's and wouldn't count . .

Posted by: delantero | January 5, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Goff front and center and grabbin the mic!
Yeaaaaahhh Boooooyyy!

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

According to Curt, Castillo has had tremendous SEX... LOL. Wonder if they'll cut that out of the archive....

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Dang it RK you scooped me on the 3D story. Here's another link:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/05/espn-3d-launches-in-june-with-world-cup-soccer-our-football-t/

Posted by: soccerman | January 5, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

OK pardner, I'm not saying Pope wasn't a fine international, I'm just saying I think Gooch edges him. Pope earned his spot on the team, but he wasn't -- in my opinion -- the anchor of the defense that Gooch has become. Obviously, the Soccer America folks agree with you, but I'll keep riding my horse across the prairie all by my lonesome.

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I think the more reasonable argument in the all-decade team would be Bocanegra vs Gooch. Eddie Pope set the new standard for a US defender and had a great career that lasted three World Cups

Posted by: ZidVicious | January 5, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday, according to the Freddy's wikipedia page, he was born in 84, making him 25. Today someone updated the page and now it says he's 20. LOL

Posted by: Charisma_Man | January 5, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

New scarf sighting on Onalfo! Looks hot!

Posted by: VercengetorixII | January 5, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=4796555

ESPN 3D to show soccer, football, more

Posted by: Reignking | January 5, 2010 10:01 AM
---------------------------------------------------------

Another example of the growing societal discrimination in entertainment options for those of us who see only with one eye....

Posted by: fischy | January 5, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Yo Hoss (Troy6), Happy Birthday! You probably have plans with the fam and won't be headed to Black Finn for happy hour will ya?

Off Topic: That scarf Payne, Onalfo, and Kasper held up is sweet. Black and white checkers!? What!? I'm stoked on having a new coach. Especially someone who can actually communicate with some of these guys who are too stubborn to learn some Engllish.
Vamos United!

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The odds are steep for Adu's return to credibility. Which is sad. There's still a part of me that can't wait to see what he and Eddie do at Aris.

Because I just don't see a team like the US going anywhere in the world cup if we don't have a creative genius at the helm. Right now, we're a counter attacking team designed (supposedly) to take a lot of pressure, then attack the exposed defense. But if a team decides to be patient and defend against us... bye bye. We need someone like Adu, because time and again our best creative players hit a brick wall in Europe.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

ESPN doesn't hate soccer.

ESPN hates the monosighted.

Posted by: Reignking | January 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

3D? Did I miss something, or isn't that still a gimmick? Always felt like it was giving me a headache or something.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Goff's twattering reveals Moreno's loan deal NOT happenin'.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Pope was the finest defender the US has ever produced. Yes, even better than Gooch, who I agree is a fine player.

Pope was hands-down a better man-marker than Gooch. Pope was as good or probably better in the air than Gooch. Pope was ten times the better dribbler than Gooch is, and was at least as much as an offensive threat on set pieces.

That is not to say that Gooch can't continue to improve and surpass Eddie, but right now Gooch has a ways to go before he can rightly be regarded as good a player as Eddie Pope was.

Posted by: Ron16 | January 5, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

3d worked for Chuck!

I think that the revolutionary thing about sports in 3d is that it is rendered live. IMO there is something to be gained by seeing sports in 3d than seeing, well, Seinfeld in 3d.

Posted by: Reignking | January 5, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

You keep ridin cross dem der plains, hit the crick, turn west and keep goin', this here's Pope Country.

Honestly, decade lists are silly. Start the decade in 2005 and Gooch wins. Start in 1995 and Pope wins.

Still think Pope was better, irregard . . er regardless of decade. I'll never understand why he didn't pursue Europe.

Posted by: delantero | January 5, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Pope set the new standard for a US defender and had a great career that lasted three World Cups

Posted by: ZidVicious
---------------------
Right with ya, but the topic was the team of the decade. Pope is still a good choice, but you can't add in the things he did before 2000. I see that he has 8 goals with the MNT, but I think the majority of those were before 2000. Anyone have some more specific data to support or undercut the thesis?

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

yo DR, I probably will be there. I'm going to see the Caps tonight and will hit the happy hour en route.

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I think the main problem with 3D is that the glasses are always kind of difficult to wear over prescription glasses. I don't mind putting in some contacts when I'm feeling sporty, but I never thought of using them so I could keep the glasses on my face when watching 3D.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 5, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I never took away the idea that the kid who said the emperor had no clothes "hated" the emperor. He simply said that the emperor had no clothes.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 5, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

3D is moving past being a gimmick. No more goofy blue and red lines.

I'm glad to come on here and see some enthusiasm from people. The past couple years have seen far too much depression.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 5, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Many times I've seen sports in 3D...it's called "being there." And, while there's no dicrimination in leaving out a "one-eyed" fischy, I do worry about drivers with no depth perception.

Posted by: soccerman | January 5, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Goff's twattering reveals Moreno's loan deal NOT happenin'.

Posted by: DadRyan

* * * * * * * *

Good news (assuming your not just having a morning hallucination)

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

With Blackburn-Villa postponed it looks like Setanta has moved Stoke-Fulham to its live broadast slot at 2:45 PM EST.

Posted by: soccerman | January 5, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone may be missing the big picture on the All-Decade Team. Look at the Midfielders (even the subs). No knock on anyone, but does this look like a midfield group that could contend for a top World Cup spot?

Look, we are already weel known globally for good keepers. We are starting to build a foundation for good defenders. Strikers are a streaky lot by nature. It's the midfield that has held us back globally in the past. That's why Adu was so fascinating. Some thought he could be the first world-class midfielder. Until we find these people, it will be difficult to climp up the global ladder, in my total uninformed opinion.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | January 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

You keep ridin cross dem der plains, hit the crick, turn west and keep goin', this here's Pope Country.
Posted by: delantero | January 5, 2010 11:07 AM
=======================================
Didn't Gooch go to Sherwood HS in Montgomery county?

For what it's worth, I agree with you that Pope deserves to be on the all decade team. So many people talk about the victories over Portugal and Mexico in the 2002 World Cup, but for me the most amazing, most unlikely performance of that tournament was the tie with a South Korean team that made the final four of the tournament. Playing them that day was like playing against every citizen of South Korea. It almost felt as if every citizen of the country was actually in the stadium - and let's not forget that Eddie was able to hold off the Korean's while playing aside a willing, yet overmatched Jeff Agoos. I will never forget Eddie following Brad Friedel's penalty kick save to narrowly poke the ball out of bounds just before a South Korean player pounced on it. That game was full of skin of your teeth plays like that.

Gooch is a great talent, but he will have to have an amazing tournament this summer at the World Cup to be included on the team of the decade.

Posted by: mddeblois | January 5, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I never took away the idea that the kid who said the emperor had no clothes "hated" the emperor. He simply said that the emperor had no clothes.

Posted by: OWNTF
----------------
agreed, but that kid didn't say the king was lazy, arrogant, and a clubhouse cancer. i have no problem with criticizing anyone, provided it is ably supported and logically coherent.

Posted by: troy6 | January 5, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Adu must be one of the following:

1. lazy
2. a locker room cancer
3. overconfident

or a combo of all three. Novak must be smiling when reading these reports.

Posted by: horace1
***************************

Actually, from what I have seen, none of those 3 assertions is true. Among other things, if Freddy has any confidence left, then he's an amazing guy.

On the other hand, it is also true that Freddy is not as good a player as we had thought. It turns out that he is too slow, too small, not physical enough, and ineffective playing defense. If he gets some playing time, his confidence will improve, his conditioning will improve, and perhaps his decision-making when on the ball will improve, but he won't get any faster, bigger, or more physical.

I agree that the USMNT desparately needs a playmaker (Feilhaber is the closest we got, and he's not that close), but I am afraid the there is no chance that Freddy will be that playmaker. In fact, there is very little chance that he can even make the team for South Africa.

Freddy has a 4-year contract with Benfica, and he's unlikely to give up the money as long as the contract lasts. After that, he'll come back and become a productive and popular MLS player, but no more that that.

Posted by: jack35 | January 5, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@ troy -- point well taken

Posted by: OWNTF | January 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't Gooch go to Sherwood HS in Montgomery county? "

Yeah, yeah, Maryland doesn't count. Plus, he left for Bradenton, FLA before making a mark.

Posted by: delantero | January 6, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

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