Philadelphia hope Adu can stay "in the zone" more often

Confidence, ability on display in Sunday's victory

Adu vs. TOR

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CHESTER, Pa. – When Freddy Adu is good, he’s out-of-his-mind good.

Sunday at PPL Park, the Toronto FC defense got a taste of that as Adu scored on them, weaved around them and played quality balls over them to lead the Union to a 3-0 rout. The next step for Philly’s mercurial midfielder: Do that more often.

“Sometimes you just get in the zone,” Adu said. “I just wish I was in the zone all time.”

Adu has shown flashes of brilliance this season, especially in a May 13 game against the Red Bulls when he put on a dribbling clinic. But he’s been the first to admit he hasn’t been as consistent as he would have hoped since returning to MLS last year.

He called Sunday’s performance his best since he's been in a Union uniform.

WATCH: Adu beats Kocic to put Union up 2-0

“With New York, everyone keeps talking about that, and that was going well but I ended up getting carded and not finishing that one out,” said Adu, who played a full 90 in Sunday’s win. “But I actually finished out this game and played consistent throughout.

"A lot of the things that most people kind of knock on me are the things that I’m proud of and what I did well today. It was not so much going forward, scoring goals; it’s the little things that people don’t see, like cutting off passing lanes, getting back, helping guys defend.”

Adu certainly did well as a two-way player Sunday but was at his best spearheading the club’s surging offense.

In the 36th minute, he ran onto a terrific through ball from Gabriel Farfan and drilled a shot past Toronto goalkeeper Milos Kocic. That tally put Philly up by two – and well on their way to victory.

“That’s another thing I haven’t done enough of is making runs off the ball and into dangerous positions,” Adu said. “I saw Gabe had the ball and I just took off. I didn’t think about anything else. I just took off and he put it in the perfect spot. The goalkeeper was caught in two minds because he thought I’d cross it. But in that instance, I knew I had to blast it on the goal far post and I was able to get it in.”

Adu showed a similar amount of confidence in showcasing a full array of dribbling moves to set the tone for Sunday’s game. Perhaps his best move came late in the first half when he flicked a ball around Toronto’s Jeremy Hall and set up Lionard Pajoy with a perfectly placed cross.

WATCH: Adu spins, sets up Pajoy header

“Today was just one of those days where my teammates did a great job finding me in dangerous spots,” Adu said. “And when I did get the ball, I was aggressive. That’s what I felt like I haven’t been doing in the last couple of games. Even if I lose the ball, it doesn’t matter – I just have to go at the guy and make him uncomfortable. Today I was able to do that with Jeremy Hall. He felt uncomfortable all game.

“That’s what my teammates tell me they need out of me,” he added with a smile. “That’s what my coaches tell me they need out of me.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.