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Friday Kickoff: Gyau signs new club deal, Maradona responds to Pele and more

Gyau (Reuters Pictures)

Joe Gyau's future at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is secure.

The U.S. Under-23 winger signed a three-year professional contract with the Bundesliga club on Friday, meaning that he is tied to Hoffneheim through 2015.

Gyau, 19, has begun to emerge as an option for the first team this season after proving his quality for the club's U-23 side. He made his debut for Hoffenheim in a DFB Pokal game and has made the bench for a few league games as well while completing most of his training with the first team, according to the club's official website.

He'll continue to join Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams as U.S. internationals at the club, which currently sits ninth in the Bundesliga.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:


Diego Maradona has made an emphatic entry into the Lionel Messi-Neymar discussion fueled by Pele's recent comments, which had caused a stir of their own.

Earlier this week, Pele made the bold assertion that, "Now everyone is talking about Messi; he is a star. But [to be the best ever] he must first become better than Neymar. At the moment, Messi is just more experienced."

In response to that, Maradona came out and said what most were already thinking.

"My God that is just stupid," Maradona said. "Maybe Neymar is the best player in the world, but only if you say that Messi is from a different planet." 


Bob Bradley's Egypt ran its unbeaten streak to six matches after a last-second, 3-2 victory over Nigeria in a friendly on Thursday.

Ahmed Hassan Mekky's close-range finish in stoppage time was the difference, as Egypt won another match in its preparation for a pair of World Cup qualifiers and a pair of African Cup of Nations qualifiers in June.

After a 2-0 loss to Brazil in his Egypt debut, Bradley has guided Egypt to a 5-0-1 record in friendlies, all against African competition. 


Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 had their chances of securing a place in next year's UEFA Europa League take a bit of a hit with the word that key forward Mame Biram Diouf is out for the season with torn ligaments in his ankle.

Since being transferred to Hannover from Manchester United prior to the close of the winter transfer window, Diouf had been on fire, scoring 10 goals in all competitions. Hannover is in a battle with Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen for the Bundesliga's Europa League berths. With four games remaining, they are currently level with Leverkusen on points — whom they play in the penultimate game of the season — but trail in goal differential. Both clubs are two points behind Stuttgart.  


What do you think of Gyau's new deal? Think Maradona is spot on? Impressed that Bradley continues to get results in Egypt? Do you think Hannover can secure a place in Europe for next season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What a strange thing to say. That is a truly perverse reading of the definition of “pride.” K-town might ask of you: Why do you care?

  2. To sit and debate who is the greatest player ever is difficult at best. You’re often comparing guys who played in completely different eras. Sure, nobody will argue that Messi isn’t the best player in the world right now, but just a few years ago that was all the same hype and talk around Ronaldinho. Then you have Zidane, Ronaldo, Baggio, Maradona, George Best…all guys that sat atop the soccer world at one time or another. Right now Messi rules…in two years it may be somebody else, perhaps Neymar. These debates are pointless.

  3. Sorry Matt, I have to disagree. I was under-whelmed by Adu’s performance….and from what I could see, so were a lot of his teammates. Adu had a several opportunities to pass to open teammates in the box and he selfishly shot the ball….this happened against Canada and El Salvador.

    IMO Adu seemed more interested in trying to showcase his own talents to somebody outside of MLS (where he feels he belongs) than he did of actually qualifying. I thought apart from the Cuba game, he was horrible. I was indifferent to Adu prior to qualifying.I guess you can count me in the hater column now. Just my opinion.

  4. The U23 team averaged 3 goals per game in 4-3-3 formation. While it is nice to want for more scoring, you have to be realistic. To put things in prospective, a 3 goal per game average is more than what Barca and Ajax average in the same system. Granted they have tougher opposition, but they also have more talent and experience. We can debate endlessly about the best possible attacking combination, but the reason they crashed out is their defense. Blaming Adu for defensive miscues just does not make sense – just watch the tape of the games.

  5. Once again — How can you take pride in the accomplishments of someone you’ve never met? You can’t just claim to be proud — you have to have a personal involvement.

  6. Before we get to the 2013 Gold Cup these young players nned to prove & improve during the 2012 season. Players Like Gyau, Morales, Boyd, and Wooten Need to move from the Reserves & 1st team bench to actual contributors for thier teams.

    Players like Lichaj, Diskerud, Williams, and Corona need to move to 90 minute men with their teams…same goes for Adu & Agudelo in MLS.

    Shea & Gatt (the only constent 90 minute players)need to prove that they can be consistent for their teams game in game out. Both are in very good positions to advance to a bigger league after the 2012 season.

  7. Whether or not Michael was our best player, Bob’s nepotism to always have our so-called “best central midfielder” in the starting lineup prevented us from trying out the most promising midfield combinations, like Adu-Beckham and Harkes-Wynalda.

  8. Is Pele still claiming goals he scored against amateur teams and military squads… and the World Cup wins that happened while he was injured?

  9. I don’t hold up Klinsi as gospel because (a) this hot-cold 433 is arguably his Frankenstein and (b) if the player that stood out to him as a real senior prospect from the U23s was Adu, he’s naive.

    You’re distorting the argument re 4 goals by saying Freddy was pulled after 3. My point is he’s not productive enough. From my perspective we should have put up bigger numbers in a 433 than we did. This sounds superficially counter-intuitive but then have you watched Dutch 433 soccer?

    Put differently, if I am going to play Denver Nuggets 1980s 100+ points a game basketball, I need a bunch of snipers on the court. If a guy scores 10 points in that system but shoots 33% from the field, he may look productive but in the context of the system he’s actually an anvil around the team’s waist.

    As many goals as we scored for our formation I think we still did not start the best 11 and could have been even more productive. When I watch Adu hit crosses to no one or free kicks to no one I can’t just blow it off when we tie 3-3. For what he does with the incredible talent we had up top he was actually wasteful. In a few years people will be in disbelief at what we got out of Agudelo Shea Boyd Corona Diskerud et al. against weak sisters ES and Canada.

    Am I the only one who noticed the two qualifying teams were FROM THE OTHER GROUP? When you’re falling down to like 5th or worse in the region at an age group, and he’s had plenty of senior chances and not produced in A team contexts, how much more do you need? He will always be the type like Kljestan who scores on Sweden C but we never play Sweden C in games that actually count. His Gold Cup efforts were part of us running up to Mexico again…..

  10. Adu’s problem is basically down to consistency.

    And that is basically down to him being a part time player for nearly five years.

    He will not be a serious contender for any meaningful role for the USMNT until he becomes something he has never been, a full time player for his club side.

    If he isn’t a key contributor for the Union ( 12 games or so in his time with them) why does any one think he can be a key contributor for the Senior USMNT?

  11. “Don’t get me wrong, he’ll hit a nice pass or two in these junior games per fixture, but meanwhile you’ll watch him waste 90 minutes on a wing doing it” man I couldn’t have said it any better…you see exactly what I see. and the fact that JK singled out Adu is merely just cuddos. Adu has no chance whatsoever with the Senior team. Not with Gatt, Dani Williams, Fabian Johnson, Altidore, Mix performing at the high level in Europe week in week out. and Gyau and Boyd and Morales, althought not playing 1st team minutes at the moment are playing plenty of reserve minutes for great clubs..I’ll take that over riding the bench for the Union.

  12. Hoping Hanover can finish the season strong to win a Europa League slot. But the loss of Mame Biram Diouf is going to hurt bad. Diouf has been a key player since his arrival, carried the team offensively through much of the past couple of months. The guy goes all out all the time never gives up–plus he seems like a prince of guy. A shame he got hurt.

    Great news on Gyau. The new Hoffenheim coach, Markus Babbel, seems like he might be the real deal and a new contact is real vote of confidence in Gyau. If Hoffenheim could win its last four games (possible, as Bayer Leverkusen is the best team they play with the other three lower half teams), they probably would end in the top seven guaranteeing an Europea League slot for next season.

  13. As an older african american who loves the “beautiful game”, Pele was the man during his time just was Maradona was during his. Neymar may be the man in the future when he’s more experienced but this time right now belongs to Messi. Above all, Zidane is my favorite and the Houston Dynamo are my favorite MLS team.

  14. I am sorry, but I don’t understand your scathing critique of Adu’s performance. Klinsmann singled him and Boyd as the players who had the best performance. I don’t think that you can blame Adu for any of the goals. And they had a 3-2 lead against Salvador when Adu was replaced with Gyau. It’s not fair to blame Adu for not scoring the fourth goal, when he was on the bench when Salvador tied the game.

  15. This is part of the problem with Porter IMO, you do not (a) let your defense become a total wreck when you have months to convert players or otherwise fix it; and (b) you don’t pigeonhole attackers to the point where 2 of your best players could be understood to be competing for 1 job. For someone playing an out of box 433 he was very in the box in terms of how to deploy personnel. I’d have had Shea and Gyau both on the field somehow, and I’d have not been making due with a lousy defense…..heck, I’d have converted Gyau to a back or someone else before I’d let Flores and Sarkodie and the rest run me aground.

  16. Thats good to hear about Gyau. Has a bright future. Some U-23 Players I could see getting called up for the Gold Cup next summer: Gyau, Gatt, Shea, Adu, Corona, Diskerud, Boyd, Wooten, Agudelo, D.Williams, Morales. Maybe not all, but I think some of these players will be on the 2013 Gold Cup roster.

  17. Adu didn’t carry squat, doesn’t generally play defense, and part of the problem with him is you have to indulge x number of crap plays and crosses in order to get y decent plays. He’s sloppy and inefficient and limits the team’s upside.

    I’m sorry but I would rather have Corona’s finishing, Gyau’s speed, Boyd’s size, or Agudelo/Shea’s skills, because they can translate upward. Adu is merely a pretty good technical player who was one of the providers for a bad U23 side that didn’t make the Olympics. That does not announce greatness to me.

    I mean, we were playing a 433, if he did nothing he would absolutely suck. If we’re going to play that style you have to be able to score 4 when a team like ES scores 3 and Adu is too intermittently sloppy to do it. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll hit a nice pass or two in these junior games per fixture, but meanwhile you’ll watch him waste 90 minutes on a wing doing it.

  18. Dude Relax, Adu had one great 2nd half against El Salvador, and that’s because yeah, 1st he opened his mouth and guaranteed a victory, 2nd he was the team captain, the leader, the senior guy, the “I been here before” guy. He was expected to carry the team on his back. the problem with Adu is, he’s too inconsistent, he dissapears for great periods of the match, where was he against Canada? oh an awesome goal against Cuba U-23…really? I’m not blaming Adu whatsoever for the loss, all I said is that Gyau would have created more chaos if given the chance ALL MATCH then Adu. did you see Gyau vs Mexico..and to back it up, Gyau signs a 3yr contract with Hoffenheim…

  19. After I heard about Pele’s comment, I was sure that Maradona would respond. The amazing thing about Pele’s comment is that he managed to make Maradona look smart.

  20. Gyau lost his starting spot to Shea, not Adu. And while I criticized Adu on many occasions, he was arguably the best player on the U23 team during the tournament and it is silly to blame the exit on him. The team averaged 3 goals per game so you cannot fault the three forwards for the exit. If you want to make some constructive critique, you should focus on the back four and the keepers, and perhaps on the midfield.

  21. I agree Gyau should’ve gotten onto the field, but Adu carried the team on his back and almost single-handedly won the 3rd game. To say that he should’ve been benched and the ineffective Shea left on tells me that you are a “serious Adu hater” or didn’t actually follow the qualifying tournament.

  22. It’s amazing how huge Pele’s ego still is – he’s in his 70s and still concerned about Bra-ARG, and that Messi cant be compared to him as the greatest ever.

  23. nah MB is totally overrated, he only played with USMNT when his dad was coa… forget it. I can’t do this with a straight face.

  24. Maybe Gyau can get some serious playing time and move from Hype to Hope.

    Also, not sure why Pele’s comments are newsworthy. So, he thinks a promising young countryman is better than Messi. Isn’t that like every American fanboy who thinks Dempsey is better than Rooney?

  25. Gyau on the bench during U-23 tourney was a waste, I’m gonna say this and not everyone is going to agree, because there are some serious Adu lovers here, still hoping he’s going to emerge into America’s next Pele….but Adu should of being benched in favor of Gyau and Shea on the wings.

  26. I’m calling it now… EGYPT USA same group WC 2014! Bob vs Klinsy! Old school vs. new school! Oh the story lines. I can’t wait.

  27. Based on what I read, esp from people who follow Egyptian fb who are on the scene, Bradley is doing a very good job under very difficult circumstances (primarily the cancellation of first division play after the Port Said situation).


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