MLSPR: Time for Freddy's homecoming
Time for Freddy to face reality
It's hard to believe that it has been six years since Freddy Adu became the youngest debutant in MLS history.
He was supposed to be the face of the league for many years to come but it never really worked out that way and, after a largely unforgettable three years, it came as no shock to see Freddy move to Europe with Benfica.
It was a change that was supposed to see Adu flourish but it hasn’t worked out that way, and now one of the most talented youngsters in America soccer is in danger of being labeled a complete flop before he even turns 22.
Adu has made some poor decisions throughout his career but MLS didn’t help him by thrusting him into the limelight before he was really ready. When Ryan Giggs was coming through the ranks at Manchester United he had Alex Ferguson to keep him grounded, but Adu really didn’t have anyone protecting him from the scrutiny of the press and the pressure definitely affected his mindset and performances.
Adu now finds himself in a second level league in Europe struggling to play on a regular basis. It is admirable that he wants to try and stay in Europe to fight for his career but it would be in his best interests to come back to MLS, refocus and finally get a run of games under his belt.
Adu may see coming home as a step back but it is a necessary move if he wants his career to move forward again.
American soccer has produced many top class players over the last two decades but not many have made the positive impact that Brain McBride has.
His decision to retire at the end of this season means that MLS is losing the services of one of its greatest ambassadors, both on and off the field. McBride has been one of U.S. Soccer’s most successful outfield exports highlighted by an extended spell at Premier League side Fulham.
McBride became a fan favorite because of his all action style and work ethic and his importance to the side was highlighted by the team’s desire to re-sign him after he had returned to MLS.
McBride’s match-winning goals against Mexico and Portugal at the 2002 World Cup are the highlights of an international career in which he led the line and represented the U.S. jersey as well as anybody ever has.
McBride may well be remembered for his spells in Europe and with the national team but his name will be forever linked with MLS. He was the first overall pick in the inaugural MLS draft in 1996 and it is fitting that he will play his final professional match in the league he has helped build.
Revs loss in SuperLiga not helped by MLS schedule
SuperLiga is now just one of a number of tournaments MLS teams play a part in.
CONCACAF Champions League, U.S. Open Cup and MLS regular season play means the fixture list can get crowded but MLS must find a better way to accommodate all of the matches in an effort to give MLS sides the best opportunity to be successful in these competitions.
The Revs came up just short against Morelia in the SuperLiga final but their cause was not helped by having to play an MLS fixture just four days before what is supposed to be considered a ‘major’ final.
MLS squads lack the strength in depth so it is difficult to rotate the starting line-up without the quality of play suffering. Don Garber has this week stated that he will look at way to make the schedule easier on teams trying to compete for honors on several fronts but this is something that should have been addressed a long time ago.
This problem will continue to grow as MLS teams become more competitive on all fronts and the front office now has to ensure that they are doing everything in their power to help our teams succeed in international competition.
Best Shield race ever?
Just a few weeks ago the L.A. Galaxy looked like they would run away with the Supporter’s Shield, but their recent run of poor form means we now have four legitimate contenders for the regular season crown.
The Galaxy still top the standings but only a superior goal difference keeps them above the Crew, with RSL only one point behind and Dallas a further three points back after a tremendous run of form.
L.A. is still the slight favorite at this stage with six of their last seven games played at the HDC -- including an 'away' fixture against Chivas -- but its form must improve if it is to hold off the surging pack.
Columbus will head into its clash with the Galaxy fully confident in the knowledge that a win would see them open up a lead at the top of the standings with only six games to go, and their experience in this situation is not to be underestimated.
RSL has shown its quality with the results it has picked up in its last two matches against the top two, while Dallas has become the most difficult team in MLS to beat. It is impossible to predict who will end up victorious, but having four quality teams still in with a chance of winning the league is a great thing for MLS.
On to this week's MLS Power Rankings ...
1. Real Salt Lake: RSL produced yet another superb home display in its win over the Red Bulls and is now just a point behind the Galaxy in the Western Conference standings.
2. Columbus Crew: The Crew didn’t need to be at their best to beat a woeful D.C. side last weekend.
3. FC Dallas: Dallas again showed why it has become the most difficult team to beat as it battled its way to victory over Toronto.
4. Colorado Rapids: The Rapids produced their second straight good performance as they dismantled Chivas to keep their playoff hopes very much alive.
5. New York Red Bulls: The absence of Rafa Marquez was felt as the Red Bulls were thoroughly outclassed in their loss at RSL.
6. Los Angeles Galaxy: The Galaxy’s recent run of subpar play continued as they failed to make the most of their one-man advantage in their tie at Chicago.
7. San Jose Earthquakes: Geovanni’s attacking qualities were on display in Houston as the Earthquakes picked up a massive away win that keeps Frank Yallop’s men in contention for a postseason berth.
8. Seattle Sounders: The Sounders loss in New England has seen Sigi Schmid’s side drop to 5th in the west and are in danger of falling out of the playoff spots having played more games than most of the teams around them.
9. Kansas City Wizards: The Wizards missed the pace of Kei Kamara but still managed to pick up a creditable draw at Philadelphia.
10. Chicago Fire: The Fire played with ten men for the majority of their clash with the Galaxy but will still see the draw as two points dropped after conceding a late equalizer.
11. New England Revolution: The Revs rebounded from their SuperLiga final defeat with a superb come from behind win over Seattle but this team is still too inconsistent to climb the MLS table.
12. Toronto FC: Preki's squad was hit by international call-ups with Dwayne DeRosario the most noticeable absentee in their loss at Dallas.
13. Chivas USA: Martin Vasquez may be stating publicly that his side can reach the playoffs but the reality is this team is not good enough to put together a run of form to get them back into postseason contention.
14. Philadelphia Union: Sebastien Le Toux became the first player to reach double digits in both goals and assists, as his wonderful form shows no sign of taking a dip.
15. Houston Dynamo: It is hard to understand the rationale behind starting the ineffective Dominic Oduro ahead of Brian Ching.
16. D.C. United: D.C.’s woeful attacking play continued last weekend, as they were once again held scoreless in their loss to Columbus.
Keith Costigan is a writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer.