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Play-by-Play Plus: Turning the page on Adu and preparing to run with the Red Bulls

The Freddy Adu saga finally ended this week with the news of a contract termination by mutual consent, and Freddy's subsequent move to Brazilian side, Bahia.  Despite his obvious talent, Adu never lived up to the billing in Philly with seven goals and two assists in 35 games played.  He was in and out of the Union lineup for a variety of reasons.  Suffice to say that if he had earned more playing time, or “the keys to the car,” that he would have been given that opportunity here.

Instead, the still young midfielder will be moving on to yet another team (too numerous to list) to try to re-invent himself.  Adu is still young enough at 23 to realize his potential, but there is work to be done.  In many ways I sympathize with Freddy.  To be told how great you are at age 14 is a tough burden for most to bear.

A lot of people put undue pressure on a young boy who was in a locker room with some players old enough to be his dad.  The book on Adu is not closed as there could be more chapters to be written. 

I personally hope the final version of the book will be better than what has been written so far.

So the Union move away from Adu, and bring in veteran midfielder Kleberson on loan from that same Bahia club.  Kleberson at 33 brings a wealth of experience to the Union.

A veteran of two World Cups for Brazil and stints with Manchester United, Besiktas and Flamengo, it’s not known yet what kind of a role he’ll play in Philly. 

First things first, he needs the proper paperwork clearance before he suits up.  At the very least he should be or become a good locker room presence and mentor to this young Union squad.  Once he sees him in training, manager John Hackworth will figure out the best way to use him. 

Hackworth and the Union face a difficult game on Saturday at the New York Red Bulls. 

Forget the Red Bulls record of 0-2-2 as they could have and probably should have won at least two of those games. They are a team in transition with a new head coach in Mike Petke, plus several new players including Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who was signed during the offseason.

Their record is also a bit deceiving as three of their first four games have been played on the road and they were missing both Thierry Henry (injured) and Tim Cahill (international duty) for last Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Montreal. Both are potentially back for Saturday.

The club recently signed veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to give them a veteran presence in goal.  With a resume that shows 180 regular season wins, 416 games played and two MLS Cups won, suffice to say the 38-year-old was not brought in to sit on the bench. Might he make his Red Bulls debut on Saturday? He has been training with the club, but there has been no official word about his playing status at this point.

As for the Union, they are well rested and ready to go following a break from MLS play. It’s almost two weeks since their last MLS game, the win at home against New England. Forward Jack McInerney has game winning goals now in two consecutive games as the Union look for a three game winning streak following an opening day loss to Sporting Kansas City. 

Philadelphia is 2-5-0 lifetime against New York, losing their last four including all three last year.

The Union game at New York can be seen on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 3:30 p.m.


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