It might be time for D.C. United coach Peter Nowak to insert 15-year-old Freddy Adu into his starting lineup a bit more often.
This has nothing to do with ticket sales which would no doubt benefit and everything to do with performance. In the past two weeks, Adu has played 135 of a possible 180 minutes, and D.C. United appears to be a much better attacking team with him on the field.
Against Columbus two weeks ago, with most of D.C.'s starters taking the night off two days after playing a CONCACAF Champions Cup game in Mexico, Adu played the full 90 in the center of the midfield and created several opportunities for his teammates.
Last weekend in a 4-3 loss to New England, Adu came on as a second-half substitute for Alecko Eskandarian and was an extremely dangerous out on the left side. In fact, in the 57th minute, Adu helped set up Santino Quaranta's brilliant strike that whittled D.C.'s deficit to 3-2.
Unfortunately for Adu, D.C. is loaded at forward and midfield, so playing time will likely remain sporadic throughout the season. No matter how well Adu plays, Nowak can't realistically justify starting him over Eskandarian, last year's MLS Cup MVP.
Speaking of New England, what's got into the Revolution?
In the 10-year history of the league, no team is more notorious for its slow starts than the Revolution. However, through three games this year, they own a 2-0-1 record, and are coming off a four-goal outburst against D.C. United, including three during a six-minute stretch in the first half.
Even though a phantom foul led to a penalty kick on one of the three goals, credit Revs' forward Taylor Twellman for putting himself in the dangerous position to begin with.
The win moved New England into a first-place tie with Chicago (2-1-1) atop the Eastern Conference standings, setting up an early showdown when the teams meet in Chicago Wednesday.
Not to be outdone, the Western Conference has a showdown of its own this weekend.
When FC Dallas (3-0-1) visits the L.A. Galaxy (2-1-0) Saturday night for the first of four meetings this year, not only will it be a showdown between U.S. National Teamers Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan, but it will arguably be a matchup of the two best teams in the league.
Los Angeles is coming off two straight three-goal games over expansion clubs Real Salt Lake and CD Chivas USA. Dallas, meanwhile, is also coming off a 3-0 win over RSL.
Of those six Galaxy goals, two have been scored by Cobi Jones. Once a legitimate scoring threat for both the Galaxy and the U.S. National Team, the 34-year-old Jones has been criticized heavily in recent years for his lack of punch on the field.
With two goals already this year, the dreadlocked Jones matched his two-goal output in both 2003 and 2004.
Jones' goal against Chivas on Saturday was something soccer fans would've expected off of his boot a decade ago, and will surely be the MLS goal of the week. After teammate Chris Albright's close-range shot was cleared off the goal line by a Chivas defender, Jones raced onto the rebound near the top of the box and unleashed a ridiculously powerful one-timed shot that buzzed past everyone and into the net.
END OF SKY CAM? Just before halftime of ESPN2's broadcast of the Chivas vs. Galaxy Derby, the SkyCam came crashing to the ground near the sideline. It took the ESPN crew nearly four minutes to raise the camera to a safe distance above the field, but the incident no doubt has some league executives wondering if such a camera is safe. What if it had fallen on a player?GOING, GOING, GONE: New England's Clint Dempsey without question owns the goal celebration of the year thus far. Following his 81st minute tally against D.C., last year's MLS rookie of the year raced over to the location of home plate at RFK Stadium for the Washington Nationals, and imitated a home run baseball swing.
E-mail: [email protected]