Arena on Adu (and other Nats news)

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by MattMathai, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. MattMathai

    MattMathai BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 28, 2004
    Here's a Soccernet article that talks about the striker situation on the Nats, as well as the prospects for young players. It's in that context that Bruce mentions Freddy.

  2. fhsol76

    fhsol76 New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    i am torn on the adu issue. I see that he dosent start for his club team but the other side of me sees his explosive ability. If he could magically get a bit of defensive desire in him and some better off the ball positioning he will definitly make the team. With that said he definitly wont start a game but i could see him playing the role of what cobi jones filled last time around. A fast player who will give ya spark off the bench.
  3. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    Great article!
  4. SteveWWJ

    SteveWWJ Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Reston, VA
    Ya, I don't see how Freddy's situation is all that different from Beasley's prior to the 2002 WC. Beasley wasn't the most prolific scorer in his MLS career, and although he was a consistent starter, he also didn't have guys like Gomez and Moreno sitting in front of him on the depth chart. If Freddy were to secure a starting spot for DC (e.g. on the left), and contribute accordingly, I can't see why Bruce would want to leave someone with his game changing abilities off the roster. In looking at the current player pool, who else has the same sort of raw skill/super sub capability to win a game, when coming in with 15-20 minutes left in a game. I mean, how many other potential world super stars do we have? I know, I know, you say, "Hyperbole! Hyperbole!"... but what other US players actually put fear into the opposition when they touch the ball? I say, NONE.
  5. owendylan

    owendylan Member

    May 30, 2001
    DC United
    I think Jeff Cunningham can be that 15-20 min super-sub and be more effective than Adu. Who would Adu come in for? Since his preferred position is A-Mid that means Donovan. You would lose a lot to replace Donovan with Adu. I don't think he can cut it as an outside mid or up top. Cunningham comes in and plays up top. Sure he's selfish player, but he's very fast and quick and isn't afraid to take players on. Also he could draw multiple defenders and all it takes is once for him to actually pass the ball to an open teammate. I think he would be a much better choice than Adu.
  6. I think another player who should be given a shot at that spot is Hercules Gomez of LA. The kid played only half a year in MLS but works well with Donovan and is a stud and doesn't get pushed off of the ball. All three players make a strong argument for the super sub. Adu has quick feet and can draw fouls and has good vision. Cunningham is pure speed and cockiness and is not afraid to go at people, Gomez is strong on the ball and can muscle around in the box and has a quick shot.

    Gone are the days when the US didn't have many options.

    -The Far Side
  7. Bootsy Collins

    Bootsy Collins Player of the Year

    Oct 18, 2004
    Capitol Hill
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He made such a strong statement in the second half of the season that I'm really surprised Bruce decided not to take a closer look at him. Even if it's very, very unlikely that he'd go.
  8. SteveWWJ

    SteveWWJ Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Reston, VA
    I don't disagree entirely about Cunningham or H. Gomez, but I think both of them have weaknesses that Freddy doesn't. To say Cunningham is "streaky" is to put it mildly, who knows which guy is going to show up the field on any given day of the week. There's a reason the guy (after putting up superb numbers this year), was just traded for Clint Mathis (a guy who's just as streaky, but was far less productive this year).

    As for Herculez, I definitely like what I've seem from him so far, but in my opinion he's a bit selfish, which is ok at his forward position w/LA, but when coming on at the end of a game, I'd want a player who's not only capable of finishing a chance, but someone who's capable of creating one as well.

    With Freddy, you get both of those attributes.
  9. DangerMouse37

    DangerMouse37 Member+

    Jan 22, 2004
    WDC / Barra
    One of the things this says to me is that while Adu may long term be our DCU and Nats A-mid (maybe), he would do himself a big favor by learning to play wide better. Can he, will he do it? Don't know, but wouldn't that be great...
  10. capitalist

    capitalist New Member

    Nov 13, 2004
    Adu should only play when we need a penalty kick.

    He's a fairly good actor.
  11. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Adu's situation is radically different from that of DMB's in 2002. I'm pretty much in agreement with Owendylan on this one.

    1. DMB was an extremely good defender. The USMNT isn't good enough to be able to give a lot of PT to guys who can't defend but DMB was one of the best defenders (other than the backline and D-mids) in the player pool. Adu is one of the worst defenders--at this point.

    2. DMB was competing for a spot at a time when the USMNT pool was much thinner than it is now. It was clear going into Japorea that Bruce Arena had no confidence in David Regis but when Armas went down he added Regis to the squad. Can any of you think of a player that Arena has no confidence in that might still make the squad with the right injury? Uh...Mathis? Don't think so. It was, quite simply, easier to make the squad in 2002 than now in 2006.

    3. If what you're looking for is a player to take the ball and through skills and quickness, either earn a free kick or create a chance against a packed defense in the closing minutes of a match (especially if your midfield is overmatched) than Cunningham is your man. Don't care for him as a player but if there's one thing he does, it's create scores on his own or against the run of play.

    Look, this argument about "put Adu in during the last 20 minutes for him to earn a PK or get a foul" is HS soccer, bad HS soccer. In the last 20 minutes of a match where the US trails and we're struggling for a goal, we're likely going against a compact defense. All attackers will be closely marked and people will be putting the body on them. There will be constant grabbing and clutching and off-the-ball ankle kicks and continuous shoving and jockeying for position. This isn't about taking a ball at midfield with no-one marking you and dribbling unmarked as the defense retreats, teeing up at your timing and letting it fly ala the great goals against LA or RSL. This is about incredible movement off the ball (b/c you'll only have an open passing lane for a nanosecond so the ability to move off the ball well and anticipate passing lanes is critical), being able to let opposing bodies bounce off you (cuz remember, we're not going to get a PK or close foul call against Czech or Italy in the last 20 minutes to tie the game--those calls aren't going to go our way) and be impossible to ride off of the ball. None of those things describe Adu at present. They likely will in a year or two, but not now.

    4. Adu is one of the least likely players to earn a PK. How many PKs has he earned in his 2 years? OTOH, how many times has he gone down but it's been perceived as a dive? Or he got carded or reprimanded for going down. The assumption that people will make when someone of his age and size goes down is that (fairly or not), it's simulation. When DMB goes down, b/c he's so much faster, the assumption is he was dragged down. I know I'm generalizing. And remember, late-minute, match-deciding PK calls--those just don't happen much in the WC.
  12. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Minor correction Joe: When Armas tore his ACL just before Korea, it was Vanney who was called in. Then Vanney got hurt and Cherundolo was selected. Regardless, the Beasley and Adu situations were very different as you say.
  13. Real Mobile

    Real Mobile Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    No, Freddy is not DMB, but they do both get the attention of opposing teams. While DMB is obviously the superior defensive player, at the time of first call up, don't you think that Freddy's offensive repertoire is more substantial? DMB has always been scary quick and fast, but Freddy has shown dribbling and passing skills that I don't remember seeing from DMB in his pre-call up MLS days.

    Although Freddy has shown significant improvement in his play without the ball, if you compare these two at the time of first cap, there is no question DMB's abilities without the ball, offensively and defensively were superior. With the ball, I think that Freddy shows better.

    We shall soon see if Young Mr. Adu is ready and able to perform at the senior international level.

    However you see it, one could do worse than to be compared to Mr. Beasley. Maybe he's not yet Saint Freddy, but he is a pretty talented young player. We should enjoy watching him play and develop, even if he doesn't walk on water, or get enough playing time. ;)

    I for one, wish Freddy a very merry Christmas and even better new year. :)

    PS: DMB is a heck of a player.
    PPS: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! :D
  14. owendylan

    owendylan Member

    May 30, 2001
    DC United
    I don't Adu is better than DMB offensively at the time of their first cap, but it's really hard to compare them because they play different positions. DMB uses his speed and his dribbling skill to take on players down the wing, while Adu is a central player and will probably see zero time in the outside. Although DMB has played in the middle, he has been pretty ineffective playing there. I will say that Adu is probably a slightly better passer than DMB, but DMB has the edge in probably every other category.
  15. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Well, speaking on his international status, he has earned 3 PK's in youth World Cups.

    1 vs Ivory Coast in the U-20 WC in 03'

    2 in the latest U-20 WC

    Nevermind the fact that a PK will probably never be called in our favor during the WC finals during my lifetime (if we didn't get that PK call against Germany, when will we ever get one?), I still think his quickness can create a PK call.

    Obviously in MLS so far I don't think he's been whistled for a PK, but that still has time to change.
  16. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Bruce's views on this kid are sure different than the average DC poster's....

    Read again what he is saying: he doesn't look at young up-and-comers in World Cup years; but he is specifically going against this practice in order to look at this kid. And in the same 'World Cup year' breath, he says Adu's got potential to play for the national team.


    What's more, previously he has compared Adu's situation vis-a-via going to the WC to Beasley's pre-Korea.

    ...As to comparisons made here between the playing style of Beasley and Adu, gotta beg to differ. Too completely different players for different roles. And no, Beasley does not use his 'dribbling skills' to get by players down the flanks (although his skill is much improved since before the last World Cup). He uses his speed and smart runs and his weird ability to literally rub himself past players. His touch is average, as are his skills. To say so takes nothing away from the amazingly effective player that he is -- very fast, very smart, team player, tactically astute, great defender. Completely sui generis.

    Adu brings a whole other bag of goods to the table, and Arena is rightly checking it out. IMO, he's going to Germany and I've been saying so for over a year now.

    And Arena's moves, and the pattern of his recent statements, strongly suggest that Arena is seriously considering taking him -- and NOT Cunningham and NOT Gomez. I actually think his pattern of statements is quite important as a clue to where Arena stands on this. Those statements are quite unambiguous, IMO. They are much like the rhetoric of a politician who continuously drops hints at what he may do, weeks or months before he officially rolls out a new policy.

    In any case, the US National Team coach clearly views this kid and what he can possibly do this summer very differently from the average DC poster, at least from what I've gleaned reading your board.

    Now, that doesn't mean Bruce's necessarily right. But it should at least give some of you who have for so long slagged on this kid and played down his skill and qualities and his chances to make it to Germany (let alone start for DCU) at least some pause for thought; as in, maybe you don't quite get it -- and Bruce does.

    Now don't go neg reppin' me just for giving my $.02....
  17. vmax71

    vmax71 BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 11, 2002
    high desert
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Dude, mark my words, I guarantee, Freddy is going to germany with the USMNT this summer unless he shows up to one of these January practices or games wearing underoos and a cape - even then, Bruce will overlook it.
  18. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If we put the 2001 DMB and the 2006 Adu side by side and ran them through a battery of technical drills and tests, Adu would win hands on--not even close. But the problem is that this tells us practically nothing.

    Second leg of the DC United, Catolica series in Santiago, UC has turned the tied, scored 2 goals as DCU clings to a tenuous lead. Nowak is desperately trying to find a way to put pressure on Catolica, to stop their surge down the wings. He puts in Adu in the second half and....for at least 10 minutes DC United was playing 10 v 11. You could see Adu on the pitch but he was never in position to receive the ball. His positioning was off. First he wouldn't show for the ball. Then he'd show too far down the field so he was not a threat when he got it. In a nutshell, this is the issue that many "put Freddy in when we're down a goal with 20 minutes left to play" proponents don't get. He's a fine individual talent but he's still very weak at integrating his game into that of the team. Not b/c he's selfish or has no vision or won't pass. But he's now at a level where people don't give him the space so he can easily collect the ball in the attack third and then take on a few defenders to score or create a chance.

    Adu has tremendous skills. He improves immensely each season--last year saw huge all-around growth from him, I expect no less this year. But he's still a very raw teenager who has trouble integrating himself into the team scheme. This problem becomes only greater at the international level where the opposition is more tactically astute, there is less space and time and you need to be excellent at your timing and work off the ball--or you disappear from games.

    My take is: individually, there is no comparision: Adu in January 2006 has far more skills than DMB Nov. 2001. But look at them in a team game (where each knows his role, knows where to move in order to see the ball, fits well within a team scheme) and I think I might actually side with DMB at that point.
  19. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md

    Definitely a fair point. I will say however that DMB wasn't exactly tearing up his National Team appearances either at that stage. His first international cap against T&T in our last WC qualifier, DMB was a complete non-factor, much in the way you described Freddy's appearence in the second leg against U of Catolica.

    Point is, the nature of the beast of international soccer, and any level of soccer for that matter, is that not every player comes out and plays at a top level each and every game. In regards to Adu, this is a wait and see type of situation. Arena, and us to a lesser degree, will not know what will happen until he gets the requisite playing time.

    For my money, Adu has the quality to succeed. He just needs the opportunity and experience. This is not to say however that simply getting experience will turn Freddy into a world star. Like I stated earlier, even DMB now throws up a few clunker performances mixed in with stellar matches. It's the way of the game.
  20. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Chris, I don't disagree that Adu may succeed. Or that DMB lays up some clunkers (as all players do at times).

    My argument is that the biggest issue Adu faces now (and it's also the primary reason he's likely to not be our best choice if we we down a goal with 10 minutes to play--he's not the guy to earn a PK or create a chance) is his ability to link with the rest of the team and integrate into the scheme. DMB didn't have any impact against T&T as I remember either. But he got touches on the ball and where he was supposed to be on the field. But he was 2-3 years older than Adu at that point and did a better job playing with his teammates. Not a case of lack of skills or selfishness, this is just something Adu needs to get significantly better at. My example with Adu wasn't an international match and WCQ but a club one.

    And maybe Adu will make the 2006 side. He's got phenomenal individual technical ability and confidence--that's what you want in an offensive player. But again, the folks who argue "put him on when we're down a goal with 10 minutes to go against Italy" are treating this like it was U-17 ball or a bunch of HS players: that he's not going to be marked, not going to be going against a compact defense, not going to be facing clutching and grabbing that makes MLS defense look like ballet. Issues like movement off the ball and timing of runs will determine if he ever gets a touch on the ball.
  21. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    1. Average DCU Poster? I had no idea there was such a thing!

    2. Please read Bruce Arena's thoughts on Freddy Adu starting with the first time he was quoted about Freddy (back when he was 12 I think) to the time in November that Adu was getting a callup to the January camp. In a nutshell, they boil down to:
    --Adu is special.
    --it's too early to tell if he'll be great.
    --we should all be patient. We expect him to be great, to do great things and that's STUPID.
    --he needs time to develop and should not be rushed.
    --the less attention and media coverage he gets, the better.
    The Bruce has been consistent on these points since the first public words he's uttered about Adu to the Nov. Post article.

    3. My take is that Arena is being entirely consistent with Adu on this. For instance, in December 2001, he talked about Santino Quaranta, Landon Donovan and Demarcus Beasley as potential candidates for Japorea. At that point, none of them had shown much with the USMNT.
  22. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Well, you guys get to see him all the time with DC, so I can't speak much to his performances there.

    But it was interesting watching him as a 15-year-old seamlessly slip into the schemes of Rongen's U20 team -- wide top left in a 4231 -- and play the role perfectly, holding his position, being a pest on defense, working well with his teammates, and being a threat going forward. And yet he only played 3 or 4 games with that team -- and had never practiced with them.

    My point is that maybe, just maybe, Nowak needs to take some blame if Freddy is not where he is supposed to be on the pitch. I am really curious to see if Arena -- as Rongen evidently did -- can impart some unambiguous orders to Freddy so that he knows precisely what is asked of him. (Maybe Nowak deserves no blame; I don't know. But under Rongen, in less than 2 weeks Freddy was playing his humble role to a T.)

    One last point. If one or more of our best players go down in Germany -- Beas or Donovan or Reyna -- I could see Freddy being given a starting role again, a la Rongen's team, simply because he has the qualities to pull it off at a very high level.

    In other words, yes, I think he'd be a great offensive sparkplug to have on the bench, but in the event serious injuries hit the team, he'd be a go-to guy and more versatile than some other bubble options.

    Anyway, camp is just around the corner. Many questions will be answered over the coming weeks.
  23. CrazyDCFan

    CrazyDCFan Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    Henan, China
    I know that Brian West is currently sidelined with an injury but it seems that he has the potential to be an answer in right midfield considering his speed. Do you think he will get a look once fully healed?
  24. MattMathai

    MattMathai BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 28, 2004
    I don't believe so. To date, all he's shown is the ability to get to most of the wrong places, but at extremely high speed. Crossing, and field vision has never been his strong suit, and that's what we need.
  25. cbeemer

    cbeemer New Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    I'd disagree, as given how inconsistent refereeing is in this league, the one consistent action is to adjudge that any time he is on the ground it is the result of a dive - I wouldn't count on refs in the international stage to be any more generous.

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