I’ve watched it a few times now, both online and on the DVR. The online copies were all a bit too grainy to actually capture the detail of the move he pulled, though once you know it’s there, it’s easier to pick out. The DVR does it a ton more justice.
I’m talking about the USA U-20s’ second goal (also the winner) against Brazil on Friday, a goal that Freddy Adu didn’t score (he set it up) but which may have been the most exicting piece of skill we’ll see from a United States player this year. Say what we will about the overblown Freddy Adu hype machine, the outsized expectations, and the occasional whinging from the kid who was annointed the Chosen One at age 14 — what he did against Brazil the other night stands on its own. Never mind that he had scored three goals against Poland earlier in the week or that it was his defensive work that created the USA’s first goal against Brazil. That’s all well and good and it suggests very good things for his future as a player. I’m fixated on the trick he pulled to win the game.
Said trick: Adu receives throw-in from Zizzo just yards from the right Brazilian corner flag, drawing the attention of two Brazilian defenders, who immediately crowd him from behind. Instead of just settling the ball on the ground, Freddy pops it into the air with the bottom of his foot (a trick that’s very doable on the Field Turf) and then juggles it toward the corner flag (with defenders in tow). With a defender on each shoulder (as he’s juggling), Adu loops the ball over his own head, wiggles between the defenders, and begins running at the goal (!!!!!!). Another defender approaches; Adu slaloms to his left, finds a little bit of space and snaps off a left-footed shot. The shot is deflected to a waiting Altidore who maturely thumps it into the net.
Maybe the first goal against Poland was a better highlight (because Adu scored on that one). Maybe. But I’ve just never seen an American player pull a trick like that (the overhead flick), much less pull it TO SET UP THE MATCH-WINNER AGAINST BRAZIL.
Freddy Adu, your bandwagon is waiting. Someone get me a Sierra Mist!