Archive for October, 2009

Adu makes the bench against Porto

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Adu is listed as a sub in Belenenses’ match against Porto today.

Wildly optimistic scenario:Gabriel suddenly becomes terribly incontinent in the 30th minute. Adu is subbed on and scores a hat trick. The managers of both Benefica and Monaco resign a few hours later.

Most likely scenario: Adu stays stuck on the bench.

Updates to come . . .

Update: 5:56pm: And Belenenses makes its final sub–not Adu. Looks like the realistic expecation was accurate. Well, at least he made the bench this time around. Man is it difficult to follow this kid’s career.

Categories: Yanks abroad Tags:

USA U-17 vs. Malawi: recap and player ratings.

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

In a generally soporific display, the US U-17 men’s team blundered into a 1-0 win over Malawi Thursday.

The US dominated possession against a poor Malawi team that barely had a sniff at goal all game (and that was called offside 18 (!) times). Yet despite their clear technical and physical superiority, the Americans managed to create only a few dangerous scoring chances. The lone US goal came off a fluke mistake by the Malawi goalkeeper.

Striker Jack McInerny, who decimated CONCACAF competition earlier this year, had a sluggish performance, managing only one real effort on goal. His strike partner, Victor Chavez, was active up top but always seemed a step behind his teammates, often making poor decisions that killed the US attack.

Luis Gil, Marlon Duran, and Nick Palodichuk did well to control the middle of the pitch, but will need to attack the goal with more urgency against the UAE. It’s great to see a US team adept at the passing game, but all the possession means nothing if they can’t kill off the opposition.

The win was clearly not convincing. The US has the talent to progress in the tournament, but needs to start showing the kind of grit and determination that the senior team has been showing lately. The UAE is nothing to sneeze at and should prove a more dangerous foe than Malawi. Let’s hope the kids really come to play on Sunday.

Player Ratings:

Earl Edwards (GK) 5. Not really tested by a Malawi team that seemed to have lost its depth perception before the game.

Jared Watts 4. Watts and his partner Zavaleta were mostly solid in the back, but on the few occasions Malawi managed to get forward they looked a little shaky.

Eriq Zavaleta 4. Like Watts, not really tested, but shaky at times. The pair needs to communicate better especially on fast breaks. On more than one occasion Malawi players were ready to sneak past the back line, only to be a foot or so offside.

Zachary Herold 5. The tall right back was solid throughout and strong going forward. His crosses leave a little to be desired.

Tyler Polak 5. Was dangerous on the attack, and his whipping, left-footed crosses should have been pounced on more hungrily by the attackers.

Luis Gil 6. Gil impressed with his second solid game of the tournament. His cheeky backheel flick  created the US goal. Unfortunately, his searching through balls never seemed to cut deep enough through the Malawi defense—although this was as much the fault of McInerney’s sluggish movement and Chavez’s failure to read the pass. Tends to pass back too much, and needs to press forward with more urgency.

Marlon Duran 5. A quiet but strong performance. Provided some excellent balls lofted behind the defense.

Nick Palodichuk 5. Much like Duran, did well to direct the ball through the midfield, but never looked threatening going forward.

Alex Shinsky 4. Did well to get off the shot that lead tot he goal, but the goal was still a fluke. Committed too many turnovers in the final third. Considering his poor showing against Spain, I’d like to see Martinez get the start against the UAE.

Victor Chavez 2. Not sure why Chavez got the start after his fairly poor performance against Spain. His quality seems to deteriorate the closer he gets to goal, and his turnovers in the first half almost single-handedly killed the US attack. Stefan Jerome should get another chance against UAE.

Jack McInerny 3. A disappointing game for the talented youngster.  Looked sluggish and tired, especially in the final third. The player who lit up the CONCACAF tournament earlier this year seemed to be missing entirely. Let’s hope it’s just jet lag.


Carlos Martinez (66′ for Shinsky): 5. Held the ball well. Did not commit as many turnovers as Shinsky, but also did not look as dangerous going forward.

Andrew Craven (54′ for Chavez): 3. Not much of an improvement over Chavez. Where was Jerome?

Boyd Okuono (87′ for Watts): N/A. Didn’t play enough. May find himself starting against UAE if Watts’ injury is serious.

Categories: Uncategorized

Freddy Adu doesn’t make the bench for Belenenses against Olhanense

October 23, 2009 2 comments

Freddy Adu, who is making a habit of bouncing around Europe to clubs that won’t play him, did not see the field in Belenenses’ match against Olhanense today. He didn’t even see the bench. The match ended 0-0.

Belenenses, currently 9th the Portugese Liga, is now one point above Olhanense and only 3 points out of relegation. Adu’s former club, Benefica, is 2nd, and recently thrashed Everton 5-0 in Europa League play.

So Mr. Adu, who was once the great hope of American soccer, cannot find playing time with a mid-level team in a small (but very good) European league. In fact, he can’t find playing time anywhere and hasn’t for a long time.

What does this mean? Is a Adu at long last, officially a bust? Shall we find another young prodigy on which to hang all national hopes of international soccer glory?

Shorter: No.

Longer: No. Adu is 20 years old. Sure, he’s not in the Messi/Ronaldo/Pato range, but did you ever really believe he would be? He’s still young. He might not be the Greatest Player Ever in World History, but he still might end up being a very good player.  And he still might have a role to play with men’s national team.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Six points for the Philadelphia Union

October 15, 2009 1 comment

Why should an Upstate New Yorker care about a soccer team in Philadelphia that doesn’t quite exist yet? The following justifications might suffice:

  1. I have been a soccer player and fan for over 20 years, but never had a team to call my own.
  2. My mother is from Philly. I took a lot of trips there as a kid to see my grandfather. It was the first “big city” I ever knew. My grandpa kicked-ass, and if he called a city home, then I have no qualms adopting it as my own.
  3. The Phillies were the first MLB team I ever saw play. Thereafter I always supported Philadelphia teams, even when I couldn’t have cared less about sports in general
  4. Donovan McNabb, my favorite football player and Syracuse’s QB in my formative years (when SU football was worth something) made his way to the Eagles. Thereafter my allegiance to Philly sports became unshakable.
  5. The Sons of Ben are already the best supporter’s club in MLS.
  6. Nuff said.

That’s it for now.



Categories: Uncategorized