Thursday, September 28, 2006

We Interrupt For These Brief Messages

I am both surprised and thrilled to report the decisive victory of dark horse UEFA Cup contenders Mlada Boleslav over Marseille today, 4-2. Haven't been able to locate any match reports just yet (I know, hard to believe that journalists aren't rushing to record the success of these titans of football, but there you are). Edit: UEFA Cup page has a brief write up. This was the second leg and Mlada Boleslav advances with a 4-3 aggregate. Next up for the determined Czechs is the group stage, which begins October 19. Go you Mlada Boleslavians!

And in other quickie news, FOX Soccer News reported last night that Reading was taking an interest in DC United youngster Freddy Adu, but according to a story on the BBC today, DC United is saying hold your horses, Adu's not going anywhere. I hope this isn't true, because at present MLS lacks the proper structure for developing a young player like Adu, and if he's as great as they keep telling us he is--and, naysayers aside, I hope he is--then he needs to be training among the very best. I trash talk MLS a lot but the truth is they are a league which is improving each year; however, it's still not the place for a player with world class ambitions.

DC United, don't make me start printing up "Free Freddy Adu" t-shirts.


linda said...

I think the problem with Adu is that he's still very young and already carrying the weight of enormous hype. If he does move overseas now the pressure of expectations could crush him.

I remember when he went to the World Youth Championship in 2005 with the US team - he was 16, most of the competitors were 19, but he was still expected to lift the team. The US started by beating a Argentina team stupid enough to leave Leo Messi on the bench and then crashed out at the beginning of the round of 16. Adu's biggest contribution was missing 2 penalties. The point isn't that he failed - at that age, there shouldn't have been expectations like that on him in the first place. It's no wonder he couldn't deal.

Zach Dundas said...

I came away from the Real/DC friendly an Adu believer. He's a pretty smart player and does have some wicked ball skills. Can he be "the best American player ever"? Not exactly a crowded category, is it, when it comes down to a battle between Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan and Eric Wynalda...

I'm confused: the talk out of MLS has always been that they won't sell Adu on until he's 18, which will conveniently be right before the spring transfer window. Did some rule change, or was there ever a rule to begin with? If Adu does leave in January, he can get a group rate with Clint Dempsey and Dwayne DeRosario, both of whom are said to be Europe-bound this winter.

Lynda said...

Linda, my thoughts on Adu are the same re. pressure, but what I'm thinking is that here in the US we've thrown him into more of a pressure cooker by having absolutely no idea how to handle a player of his combined youth and skills. There was an interesting conversation about this a few weeks ago on FOX Football Phone In, about the fact that at 15/16 he was basically playing against grown men because we have no real system of developing talented young players here--mostly we put em through the college system first which unfortunately also means that they spend what should be some of their peak years playing US college soccer, but that's another rant.

I don't know. My hope is that it would take some of the pressure OFF, but I could be wrong.

Zach--I'm glad to hear he looked good up in Seattle. I haven't seen him play a lot, but what I've seen has sometimes been not so impressive and sometimes very much so.

Zach Dundas said...

I can see how he'd be a bit streaky as a player. On TV, what I've seen amounts to a lot of wandering around interrupted by the rare flash of brilliance. In person, he did a lot of what the sports-talk radio fellas call "intangibles"—clever little sprints into space, filling in a gap in midfield at just the right moment. He made DC's goal—and he was tangling with Roberto Carlos—and so, though a one-off performance in a friendly means little, I'd say there's something very real there.

Can you tell I've been drinking? I sure can.

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