MLS- Philadelphia Union

A look at Freddy Adu's frustrating season (and all the assists that could have been)

FreddyAdu (ISIPhotos.com)

Freddy Adu enjoyed his best game of the season last weekend, scoring two goals before suffering an injury that forced him to leave the Philadelphia Union's win against the Houston Dynamo.

It's just been that kind of year for the playmaker, who has endured a rough season along with the rest of the Philadelphia Union. His statistics, three goals and one assist, suggest that he simply hasn't been producing enough, something U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann pointed out when asked why he hasn't given Adu a look since he first took over as U.S. head coach.

Adu's statistics might suggest that he has failed to create quality chances for the Union, but anyone who has watched Philadelphia play this year knows that his lack of assists is as much to do with the Union's poor finishing as with his lack of effectiveness. The reality is that, on a team with quality finishers, Adu could easily have a double-digit assist total.

If you haven't watched much of the Union this season, or if you haven't seen all the missed chances set up by Adu, here is a video that provides pretty thorough rundown of Adu's best work this season. It's a video that definitely captures the frustrations of a forgettable season for both Adu and the Union:

What do you think of Adu's season? See him returning to the Union in 2013? For non-Union fans, would you want your team to pick Adu up for next season?

Share your thoughts below.

  • MJC-DC

    You think the DeRo role is the same as a poacher type striker? I’ll clarify my idea for Adu’s role. Staring off he plays between Farfan and Mac. He is granted the freedom to roam, find space and make plays in the attacking third, while not having to worry to much about defending, just to be hungry for the ball and have a high attacking work rate. That should give him plenty of freedom to exert his playmaking qualities without being exposed defensively.


  • PD

    If they should be called up to address the USMNT’s lack of creativity then absolutely.

    I have said it before, the span that began with Adu on a 2nd tier Turkish team through these next two seasons will be his refiner’s fire; he will either come out of this period a disciplined and consistent 10# option for the US that then have about 8 years to really ake some noise, or he will trundle along as a case of what could have been. But when once considers the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics and a Union roster which was heroic at best and handcuffed or inept at worst, the journey has been slow going.

    As Chris Rock once famously said, “a man is only as faithful as his options.”. We don’t have many US players that can do what Adu does. We need to keep the faith.


  • PD

    It’s nice you took a moment to pull you head out of your #$$ to share such deep insight as to what it takes to be a great player. Reminds me of that other chestnut knuckleheads like yourself are so fond of… Go big or go home? Please just go home.


  • chuck

    I agree with your work rate comment. That is probably the main reason every single manager Adu has had gets frustrated with him. It is a shame because he probably has the most talent of any American player. If he had the work rate of a Jermaine Jones, it would be scary to think of how good he could be.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    I know I’m late to this article but Freddy should absolutely be in the Nat’s picture. I still don’t get how Klinsy won’t call him in. When he plays for the Nats he performs well. Period. I think if NYRB (reluctantly my team as Backe’s selections are so damn frustrating,) would dominate with Freey in the middle.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I might be a little dismissive of Altidore, but I still think he’s pretty good and belongs on the national team. But I think Adu is merely ok, and definitely overrated. The two goals at home against a flat Houston team consisted of abusing an isolated Sarkodie, his fellow U23 mate, who has played 6 games and 335 minutes this year and IMO doesn’t even belong on the field; and scoring a penalty he didn’t earn, during which he pulled a muscle. I don’t think he merits more than Camp Cupcake.

    Don’t get me wrong, Adu has re-proved he’s a solid MLS pro like he was for DC before the European nightmare. But to me he lacks a special quality to set him apart as a senior player that can contribute to the Nats. He is a good but not great technician. But he’s slow, short, sometimes unfit, not particularly athletic, etc. Other than being somewhat more technical than certain DMs and Jozy, I don’t see what he adds to the A team that other players don’t have, and many of the other players in the pool have size or speed or maybe even better technique. Kind of like Wondo….what does he actually bring to the table?

    FWIW, I also tend to think he’s prone to trying for home run balls and doesn’t have a high work rate, which means he goes absent and loses possession.


  • Dave

    I am a Union guy, and do watch a majority of their games.

    Frequently, he is like watching a 30 yr old play basketball with high school kids. He makes the right pass and nobody is home. To me, that is more practice habits and coaching. He also jogs when everyone else is running and his body language is horrible.

    I wonder if we can get Adu and Le Toux on the field at the same time.


  • Cojosurfer

    Adu is a #10 playmaker. Adu has the vision and the always important ‘anticipation of play’. Adu needs to get back in the USMNT player pool as soon as possible Herr Klinsmann. Donovan is the #10 player not played as a #10. OK, on that thinking Adu should be the #10 player right now. In a diamond 442 midfield Bradley can play behind Adu. In a triangle 433 Bradley and Jones can play behind Adu. In a reversed 433 midfield triangle you can pair Adu and Bradley with Jones behind them. I would like to see Adu feeding Dempsey and Altidore. Dempsey, to his credit, creates ‘on his own’.


  • bigprof

    freddy get no love. he’ll always have soft spot in my soccer loving heart after his performance against mexico in gold cup


  • AMPhibian

    he has always performed well for us, he has a brilliant left foot, and wonderful, full-field vision. he is supremely creative, and moves around the pitch smartly.

    he is short, slow, flops too often, and sometimes risks too much. the gripe with his defense or work rate i never understood, but he hasn’t much success in his club stints, so there is likely something to that.

    i think freddy isn’t a top 11 player for us, but could be used valuably off the bench. he is always a set-piece threat, and if we have a size advantage in the box, he will find some heads.

    imo, the freddy adu hate was born from the freddy adu hype, and i find him interesting because i feel both sides of the debate we’re perhaps too quick and hyperbolic in their language, and freddy was deserving of neither.


  • AMPhibian

    also, sorry to union fans for their season, i couldn’t watch the whole youtube video, it was that ridiculously frustrating watching all those blown chances. can’t say the rapids have treated me much better this year.


  • Cojosurfer

    I simply like Adu in the #10 role because by nature of the game he will get more touches in the center portion of the field. He can create that killer pass at anytime that simply beats defenders. The USMNT has never really had a #10 playmaker before. Seems as though we don’t know what that player is or supposed to do in a #10 role. We don’t know what to do with one if we had one (case in point Donovan and now Adu).


  • Mr. Union

    As a STH for the Union, I’ve seen every game the Union have played thus have seen every minute that Adu has played for this team. Yes it is true, that if this team had a true goal scorer this year, Adu (and many other Union players; see Farfan, Michael) would have significantly more assists.

    The problem that this video does not show is the considerable amount of minutes that Adu gets lost in the game. There have been many examples of games where Adu is no where to be found. Adu has such a poor work rate and is such a defensive liability, that was regulated to the bench for many games.

    Adu is an asset if the FO of this team goes out and gets a true goal scorer AND solidifies the midfield. Adu playing a central withdrawn forward role in a 4-1-4-1 would be best for his skill set and his limited size in a league like MLS.


  • Matteo

    You put Adu on a team with better finishers then most likely that team will have better playmakers. He’s good for MLS or some 2nd tier European team but definitely not Sevilla, Napoli, Tottenham kind of teams either.

    Maybe he should try his luck in the Mexican League. His style definitely suits a technique oriented league.


  • beachbum

    Galaxy fan here. what if Freddy played for the Galaxy?

    Would not slot him for Juninho. Instead, he’d play off of LD or Robbie up front when either sits or sub for either, or sub for Magee/Wilhelmson whoever starts, or even start for either one of them. And on that team he’d become the best defender he’s capable of being (whatever level that is) because every player on that team is demanded to defend by the other players, even Beckham, LD, Robbie, whoever


  • Rlw2020

    Haha Adu and Le Toux on the field together, sounds like a perfect ying-yang.. Whats that? Philly dumped Le Toux before the season.. Oh ya.

    Adu should have sued Novak! For messing up his career multipule times.


  • beachbum

    +1 on the workrate. just commented above about this if he played on the Galaxy hypothetically. He’d have to be played up top in a paired striker tandem imho to best utilize his skills while best covering his weaknesses at the same time. Also see Freddy as a player who could be inserted into a game to change the pace effectively, a vital role if one is able to do it


  • TomG

    Sure, but it’s not like he’s always been the manager’s favorite player at all his stops. I think this kind of behavior is one of the reasons he has trouble earning playing time.


  • Stan Collins

    I wish there was an easy way to accumulate OPTA Chalkboard stats across multiple games. Then one could total up his “key pass” stats and compare to other center mids.


  • Cojosurfer

    As a #8 box to box midfielder I agree with your post. No. We have Bradley and Jones as #8 players. As a #6 absolutely not. We have Williams, Edu, and Beckerman for #6 role. As a winger? Maybe. As a #10? Yes! My campaign is over…enjoy qualifying.


  • Erik

    Stop being so naive. Torres and Adu play different positions so this mental midget jump of yours to swap these players will not work. What you ,and the others that agree with you, don’t understand is Torres is a number 10. A more defensive 10 but a 10 none the less. He is the anchor of our midfield and his job is to control and spread out the midfield with his passes and get the ball to the attacking mids and forwards. Adu is a pure attacking midfielder/withdrawn forward. His job is to attack and work the top of the midfield with his creative passes and dangerous runs. Another thing, Adu has always performed well when representing the United States, so show him the proper respect.


  • GW

    How many competitive games have has the USMNT won with Adu in the lineup?

    How many competitive games has the USMNT won with Torres in the lineup?


  • Dan

    Adu didn’t play up to his potential at Rizespor??? They loved him at Rizespor and he played very well. Do you watch soccer at all or do you just repeat what your uneducated friends say?


  • Catamount

    Interesting article. Freddy’s history suggests that he sees minutes on weak teams and doesn’t crack the roster on strong teams. Creative players are defined by the goals they create, not the chances they create. To become a regular starter on any successful professional team Freddy needs to either score a dozen goals a season or become at least as good defensively as Landon Donovan. If he adds either of those qualities he will become an important player. If he adds both he will become indispensable.


  • Music

    Embarrassing logic, blaming a player because his teammates don’t score when he sends them in 1v1. And I recall Adu starting for, and being our best player, in the USMNT Gold Cup Final match against Mexico. As well as being our best player in the semifinal match. In fact, almost every time Adu plays for the USMNT he’s our best player.


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