Monday, March 1, 2010

Maurice and Freddy: A Tale of Two du

For the past two years I have patiently dreamed for a World Cup U.S. lineup that would include a diamond midfield formation with Maurice Edu as a defensive mid and Freddy Adu as an attacking mid. Aside from the marvelous surname aesthetics, I believe both players bring a youthful spark and imagination that the U.S. squad has been lacking of late (aside from the three confederations cup games where a temporary bliss was achieved and Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Charlie Davies all played to their potential).

Now I don’t want to go into all of the strategic ramifications of such a lineup (as I am sorely under qualified to discuss soccer logistics) nor do I want to talk about the actual plausibility of Adu and Edu ever taking the field together in the Red, White, and Blue (since the only way Michael Bradley is leaving his midfield spot is through seeing a red rectangle flashed in his direction). Instead what I’d like to do is provide a little background and then discuss the possibility of both Edu and Adu getting some playing time at the national level in the near future.

Freddy Adu started as a mythical 14 year old professional who year after year received limited playing time from coaches who doubted the maturity of the young phenom and instead decided that discipline and patience would prove more valuable then playing time for the youngster. Unfortunately, this pattern continued while Adu hopped around Europe and only received marginal playing time on various club and U.S. National squads. The trend, however, seems to have stopped in Greece where a now 20 year old Adu (still quite young in soccer years) is being consistently called upon to help a struggling Aris Thessaloniki team in the top Grecian league. The results thus far have been quite good as Adu has netted two goals and been involved in numerous other scoring situations. Yet, even with all of this improvement and increased playing time U.S. coach Bob Bradley decided against calling up Adu to the 20 man roster for an upcoming exhibition against the Netherlands on Wednesday. Although many have speculated that Bradley is concerned about over working a lingering ankle injury or that he desires to not mess up Adu's current routine with his club team, it still seems like an odd decision with the current form Adu has displayed.

After a stand out collegiate career at the University of Maryland, Maurice Edu spent some time with Toronto FC in the MLS and with U23 National team. His work with those squads was enough to garner attention from Scottish super-club Rangers FC. After signing with Rangers Edu performed very well and slowly gained recognition from Scottish fans and the U.S. coaching staff. Things looked very bright for Maurice until numerous consecutive small and moderate injuries sidelined him for much of last year's club season and the spectacular U.S. Confederation cup run -- of which he would have been included. Edu's injuries finally cleared up early this year and he has won significant playing time in the last few Rangers' matches. This return to form convinced Bradley to call up the young defensive mid for this week's friendly in Holland. Then just this weekend, Edu further proved that he deserves a spot on the U.S. National team by scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 defeat in Rangers' biggest game of the year against old firm rival Celtic.

While I realize that a few weeks of strong performances by two players who may have not originally been slated to start will not equal certain playing time, I do still take delight in knowing that my dream for a lineup featuring Edu and Adu is starting to move in the right direction. For now I’ll put the percentages as follows: 100% Edu makes the world cup roster, 50% Edu starts, 50% Adu makes the world cup roster, and 25% Adu comes on in the 75th minute of the U.S. England game (U.S. down 1-0) when Bob Bradley finally realizes that Conner Casey can barely score against Real Salt Lake let alone freaking England!

No comments:

Post a Comment

[Valid Atom 1.0]