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I know Marco Etcheverry. And you, Freddy Adu, are no Marco Etcheverry

Jan 17, 2013, 3:35 PM EDT

Philadelphia Union v Seattle Sounders Getty Images

Simon Borg and Alexi Lalas had an impassioned discussion during the MLS Draft — btdubs: nice job, guys. Seriously good/entertaining stuff throughout — regarding the future of Freddy Adu. The Philadelphia Union playmaker/enigma/disappointment/star/etc., once again, finds himself in career limbo, and the pair wondered about his future.

Lalas is of the opinion that very few teams would want Adu even if the Union ate a large portion of his outsized cap hit. That, I think, is the standard perception of Adu in 2013.

The outspoken Borg, on the other hand, had a very different take. The basic gist: Give the dude the keys! He believes Adu could be magic, could be the No. 10 the Union (and the league) needs, could perform miracles, could et. etc. etc. under the right circumstances, circumstances which he’s never. Borg — who loves his dramatic pronouncements — compared Edu to former D.C. United star Marco Etcheverry.

About that: I’m not buying. You cannot build an MLS team around Freddy Adu. He’s too unreliable, too inconsistent, too much trouble. There was, perhaps, a time when Adu could be the focal point of a team, but that time is long gone. And I think you could make a case that past teams used him wrong, but again, that time is over and done with.

In this debate, Lalas wins.

And then there’s this:

Now, let’s talk about Carlos Alvarez for a second. I think there’s a better chance Chivas USA’s newest first round pick is the man Borg/Lalas want than Adu. He’s quick, crafty, and willing to learn. He’ll do fine in Southern California, you just watch.

While you’re waiting to watch, here’s Alvarez talking about his future at Chivas. He doesn’t sound like a dude who is prepared to come in and take over, but we shall see.

  1. wesbadia - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    This seems like an easy jab at Borg and nothing else.

    Adu HAD the ability to be an Etcheverry, but the atmosphere around him for the last 9 years has not been conducive to him growing into that role. Exactly why the rise of academies was a necessary and very natural occurrence for MLS. When a gamble is made on a 14 year old kid whom has been told from an even younger age that he could be the next [insert celebrity player here], the odds of it working out are slim. Everything went to his head, and the hype never died down because Adu was so young that everyone still had hope for him no matter where he went or how bad he played. The only reason he’s in MLS again was Nowak. Sans Nowak, Adu is playing in a 2nd or 3rd division league somewhere on loan.

    Is Borg wrong? Probably mostly, but just because he thinks Adu can STILL be an Etcheverry-type player. Adu won’t be because there’s no hope left in him. It’s already too late. Adu definitely had the potential to grow into that player. He’ll be 24 this year. His time has passed him by.

  2. crnelson10 - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Ives Galarcep said on twitter earlier this year that if the union had a forward that could consistently put the ball in the back of the net, Adu would have double digit assists. I don’t really get why Ives is the only soccer journo I’ve seen say that when talking about Adu. I think if Hackworth lets Adu stick around, and puts him in the hole behind Le Toux, Freddy is going to finally have a breakout year.

    • schmutzdeck - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      crnelson10 – Jan 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM
      “Ives Galarcep said on twitter earlier this year that if the union had a forward that could consistently put the ball in the back of the net, Adu would have double digit assists.”


      Ives may have a point and I’ve heard other say the same but do me a favor; here is the list of assist leaders for the Union in 2012:
      1. Michael Farfan 5
      2. Jack McInerney 3
      3. Lionard Pajoy 2
      4. Roger Torres 2
      5. Sheanon Williams 2

      I’m guessing they were working with the same incompetent forwards as Adudinho.

      Explain to me how is it Freddy gets just one assist and Farfan has five working with the same group of crap players??

      Two more things, cnelson,.

      I get the he’s still young bit We are after all an eternally optimistic society when it comes to redemption. Maybe OJ will find the real killers after all.
      Anyway the way I look at Freddy is he will be 24 in June which means he has been a pro for about 9-10 years.

      To put that in perspective Mo Edu is a 7 year pro and Graham Zusi is a 5 year pro.

      They say the things you learn when you are a teeager become deeply imbedded . So Freddy’s habits , good and bad , will be quite challenging to sort out. So unless you think he is perfect just the way he is the next team to take a chance on Freddy will have to rehab his habits, because clearly he has some sorting out to do.

      Such rehabbing is not impossible but it is likely ot be very difficult to do. Which leads us to the second point.

      He makes too much money for a “project” player. It’s hard to ask teams to pay DP money to a project player whose the track records indicates he is not really receptive to rehabilitation.

      I don’t care how young you are. when you screw up as often and as consistently as Freddy has and have the kind of salary demands he has after a while the phone will stop ringing.

      • wesbadia - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Hear, hear! Basically the case I made above, but very well said.

      • crnelson10 - Jan 19, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Fair point when it comes to Farfan. My only response would be something about blind squirrels finding nuts, but more importantly, I watched the Union play on a number of occasions and every time I watched Adu play, he was their most dangerous player.

  3. krimsonyx - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    The guy is still young at 24 in my opinion. He should still be on the ascension. He may be overpaid, but he didn’t write his own contract. If he played badly while being played in his actual position I’d be more down on him.

  4. rufulk - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    This is always a fun conversation because Adu has had so many highs and lows. On the low side, he crashed out of Europe, has a history of off-field blow ups and ego problems, and a lackluster tenure at the Union. But on the high side, he has coped with professional pressure from a young age, is *still* young, and shows flashes of absolute brilliance from time to time.

    His roller coaster career is best exemplified by the last 2-3 years: a stagnant European career completely rejuvenated by a stellar Gold Cup, but then followed by a touch-and-go couple of years at Philly, the picture of which is muddied by a piss-poor forward line and a basket case of coach.

    Both sides of the Adu Argument can point to the last couple of years as evidence – and both sides would be right!

    Like I said, fun stuff. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  5. schmutzdeck - Jan 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM


    “blind squirrels finding nuts”

    My point exactly.

    His contract is a big part of the problem because if he made less people might be willing to keep him around to develop him but for that money you can’t afford him if he isn’t already “The Man”

    He’s supposed to be Michael Jordan not John Paxson.

    If you are the manager, it’s one thing if Adudinho is just some kid you can work into your game plan or use as a second half sparkplug. But Adu is the highest paid guy on your team. He is supposed to be the man, not the sort of player that “blind squirrels finding nuts” implies.

    Freddy is never around long enough with a club to develop much beyond what he was when he was 14
    And what he is, is not good enough to build your national team around. He’s too inconsistent.

    Just like most things in life it comes down to money.

  6. mvktr2 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    The old saying that circulates around various addiction treatment circles may sadly apply to ‘young’ F Adu, ‘you don’t know which way is up till you hit rock bottom.’ For Adu clearly rock bottom wasn’t Turkish 2nd tier and it’s not riding the pine in MLS 2.0. I suspect when the money runs out, if the money runs out and I’m not wishing him bad financial luck, or when the best he can do is USL Pro or 2nd tier Belize then reality will set in. Till he’s scrapping to hang onto his career, not selling tons of shirts in Philly, he’s simply not likely to ‘get it’. And at that point isn’t it going to be physically to late?

    When Freddy landed somewhere in arid Turkey I said then and still believe the best thing for his career would be to hit into a mid-to-lower level central American team or a 2nd tier Mexican team. I firmly believe playing in a Mex. side could teach him to harness his impulses and he’d get schooled enough to force him to be creative within the system. Alas, it’s almost assuredly to late.

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