ASN 100 Update
Juan Agudelo Is Heating up and Freddy Adu Moves on
One attacker is finding his form in Major League Soccer, while another leaves in an auspicious manner. Elsewhere, two goalkeepers shine and Chris Wondolowski tallies impressively from distance.
BY Josh Deaver PostedClint Dempsey—ASN rank #2
March 25, 2013
March 25, 2013
In case you missed ASN’s extensive coverage, the U.S. Men’s national team played a pretty wild game on Friday night. In a contest which featured a blizzard and the real possibility of abandonment, the 1-0 win over Costa Rica will undoubtedly go down in U.S. Soccer lore as one of the most unusual World Cup qualifiers of all time. When all was said and done, the Americans came out on top thanks to a 16th minute goal from Deuce, who followed up on a deflected shot from Jozy Altidore for the game’s only goal. The win delivered a vital three points, vaulting the U.S. to second in the Hex table heading into a clash with a reeling Mexican side at Azteca on Tuesday night. Dempsey, serving as captain for the two fixtures, has now scored seven goals in his last eight appearances for the national team during World Cup qualifiers and is now only four goals away from surpassing Eric Wynalda as the second all-time leading goal scorer in program history. Jermaine Jones—ASN rank #14
#SnowFro! Jones put in a superb performance in the snow against Costa Rica on Friday. However, the Schalke midfielder will miss his chance to compete at Azteca after returning early to Germany with what is being described as a left ankle sprain by U.S. Soccer. Jones suffered a harsh tackle during Friday night’s 1-0 win, and afterwards sent out a gruesome picture of his ankle showing the ill effects. Jones’ absence creates a definite hole in the U.S. lineup against Mexico and adds to the already long list of injured Americans. Chris Wondolowski—ASN rank #22
Although Saturday night’s 1-0 victory by San Jose Earthquakes over Seattle Sounders was not the prettiest of affairs, it was highlighted by one moment of class from goal machine Chris Wondolowski. Wondo picked up his second goal of the season, the eventual game winner, during first half stoppage time with a pretty strike from outside the box. After corralling an outlet pass with a smooth first touch, Wondolowski blasted a right-footed shot that slid past Michael Gspuring, off the post and into the back of the net. Although he tied the single season MLS goal scoring record last season, only one of his 28 strikes came from outside the box. Juan Agudelo—ASN rank #42
After the 20-year-old failed to receive a call-up to the most recent national team camp, he tweeted simply, “just means gotta work harder.” In the lone MLS matchup on Sunday, Agudelo did just that by picking up his second goal of the season for Chivas USA in a 4-1 rout of Chicago Fire. Agudelo showed his strength and skill on the goal, out-muscling Jeff Larentowicz for a through ball before taking a fabulous curling right-footed effort that snuck by the Chicago keeper for the Goats’ third goal. The ‘situation’ at Chivas USA has been concerning for some national team observers in regards to Agudelo’s development, but now that “El Chelis” has found a groove early in the season, the young striker is seeing consistent minutes and scoring goals for one of the most intriguing squads in MLS. Nick DeLeon—ASN rank #48
Nick DeLeon was poised for a breakout sophomore campaign. Now, however, the 22-year-old winger could be missing some time for D.C United. In D.C’s 2-1 loss to Columbus on Saturday, DeLeon came up limping in the first half and was forced to exit the game with an apparent injury to his right leg. The official diagnosis has not yet been made public but D.C coach Ben Olsen did not sound enthusiastic following the game. “It’s probably not great. But we will evaluate him in the next day or two,” he said. Bill Hamid/Andy Gruenebaum—ASN rank #58/#96
With MLS standouts Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson currently with the national team, the weekend’s MLS action gave other top American keepers a chance to grab the spotlight. During Columbus Crew’s 2-1 victory over D.C United on Saturday, an entertaining back and forth affair, both D.C’s Bill Hamid and the Crew’s Andy Gruenebaum shined between the sticks for their respective clubs. Hamid was forced into action early and often, as Columbus peppered the D.C. goal for a majority of the afternoon. Although coming up with several huge saves, Hamid could do nothing on a Ben Speas game-winning strike from just inside the box. On the other side, although poorly positioned on a wonderstrike from Brazilian acquisition Rafael, Andy Greunebaum’s fantastic double save twenty minutes from full time saved the points for Columbus and earned the keeper Man of the Match honors for the Crew.
Freddy Adu—ASN rank #69
After a disastrous 2012 MLS season with Philadelphia Union, the mercurial former prodigy is once again moving on to his next opportunity. In what will be his ninth club in seven years, Adu agreed to terms with Brazilian side Bahia this week and will be presented as their newest signing on Monday. In exchange, the Union will receive one Bahia player, 33-year-old Kleberson, in a salary move designed to benefit both clubs. Adu arrived in Brazil on Thursday before officially signing his contract over the weekend. Adu said that he sees his style translating to the Brazilian Serie A: “I never thought of myself as playing, quote-unquote, an American style, I based my game on the Brazilian style because I love that. I love being able to express yourself. Here, you’re allowed to express yourself, you’re allowed to play, you’re allowed to enjoy football. So this, I think, would fit my style really well.” Bahia finished 15th in the 2012 Serie A campaign. Joe Gyau—ASN rank #71
The 20-year old winger picked up his first goal for St. Pauli on Sunday, netting for the club’s U-23 side during a 2-1 win over Meppen in the German Regionalliga. With the German second division on hiatus during the international break, Gyau saw his first minutes for St. Pauli II, starting and playing 90 minutes in the win. Featuring on the right side of attack, Gyau received an opposite field cross in the 36th minute and buried his chance from just inside the box. The goal, his first since April 2012, is only his third since landing in Germany in early 2011. Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter.