By JAMES CLARK
Monday, February 09, 2009
No Freddy Adu? Bob Bradley's Got This One Wrong ...
By JAMES CLARK
Fans of the United States Men's National Team have been counting down the days to February 11th (7 p.m., ESPN2), when the CONCACAF Hexagonal gets underway to see which three teams (and possibly a fourth) from North and Central America and the Caribbean get to make the journey to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The luck of the draw would have it that we open the round against our archrival Mexico, with the game set for wintry Ohio. Mexico is reeling under the guidance of ex-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, but beware the wounded animal. I find U.S. coach Bob Bradley's omission of Monaco midfielder/striker Freddy Adu (pictured above, top) when the roster was announced this weekend to be more than a bit worrying. Granted, Adu is rooted to the bench for the Ligue 1 side, but a player with his special abilities MUST be on the roster at this point. No offense, but you're not going to beat the best teams in the world once we get to the Confederations Cup in South Africa this summer -- where dates with Italy and Brazil await -- with the likes of Ricardo Clark on the field. The roster should be shaped now to hit the ground running with for those big matches this summer, with further tweaking ahead of the Big Show in South Africa in 2010. Yes, Sacha Kljestan is in fine form at the moment and you don't need Adu to beat Mexico, but against Italy or Spain or Argentina, that extra bit of guile he brings to the table cannot be underestimated. And if Bradley is punishing Adu for his lack of playing time in the French league, why name striker Jozy Altidore (pictured above, bottom)? Keep in mind I would never once in a million years ask so daft a question, but it's just for argument's sake. Altidore has just been shipped off on loan from Villarreal to a team in Spain's second division, yet he grabs a spot. Maybe there's something here that's not clearly evident at this time. Could it be that Bradley has doubts about Adu's work ethic? This one merits some close monitoring.