Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freddy Adu set to join Union

With the MLS transfer window set to close on Friday, 22-year-old playmaking midfielder Freddy Adu is set to join the Union, according to multiple sources.

The team will make the official announcement Friday at noon at PPL Park.

“The important thing is that we try shuffle the front line a little bit,” said coach Peter Nowak on Thursday, when asked about any incoming personnel. “Jack [McInerney] and [Velkjo] Paunovic did a very good job the last few games, but that’s one area we need some cover. The rest, we can figure out, but now we’re looking to score more goals.”

Once hailed the savior of American soccer, Adu will simply have to be the savior of the lackluster Union offense, who lost leading scorer Carlos Ruiz in a transfer to Mexican side Veracruz and has since struggled, going winless in their last three games. The hope is for Adu to spark production out of forwards Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga and McInerney.

Adu, who has been out of the MLS since 2007 but is a two-time All Star with the league, moved to Portuguese side SL Benfica before being loaned on a yearly basis around Europe with AS Monaco, Belenenses, Aris FC and Caykur Rizespor.

Nowak said it was still to be determined if any new addition would be ready for the Union’s Saturday night contest against FC Dallas at PPL Park.

“I can’t tell you,” he said. “I wish the procedure would go smooth, but I can’t tell you how it’s going to be. This is out of my hands and it’s between the MLS, US Soccer Federation and the other clubs.”

Nowak has a familiarity with Adu, as he coached and eventually feuded with the young phenom in his first two years as pro with DC United from 2004-2006. Adu became at odds with Nowak over playing time and was eventually transferred to Real Salt Lake. The two have since reclaimed their working relationship.

Adu, who was in Philadelphia for the US Men’s National Team match against Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday, opened the eyes of MLS teams during his time with the US team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. After more than a year of being left off the national team landscape and missing a trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, Adu earned a chance at redemption and took it.

In the semifinal game against Panama, Adu set up the game-winning goal with a pass to Landon Donovan, which was eventually slammed home by Clint Dempsey to advance the American side. Suddenly, a humbled Adu was back in the U.S. soccer picture.

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