Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Freddy Adu Revives the Hype: US 6-1 Poland

Well, Freddy and the boys are at it again:

They dismantled Poland with six world-class goals.

The highlights speak for themselves.

Adu wasn't the only starlet to shine: Szetela had a brace on the day and Altidore got his name in lights, as well.

The game seemed so surreal: everyone was clicking, everyone making runs, beautiful shots. Everything added up -- meaning the young Americans were in unusually fine form today.

Julian Valentin caught a nasty elbow to the face and left the game bleeding. Ofori Sarkodie came on as a replacement. We'll hear updates, I'm sure.

So how much does this speak for the talent of the US squad and the quality of the program? Volumes? Paperbacks? Last December's DogFancy? Here's what I make of it: Poland, being battle weary from their Brazil match still, were always slow and never truly inspired. They nabbed one at the beginning but it was clear from that point on that they didn't possess the resources to keep the lead. Bradley was an unsung hero, doing all the dirty work while his teammates fished for glory -- but does he really need to shine? He's in a good situation in Europe and the MNT already has him well in their sights. It's good that Adu and Szetela lived up to their reputations for a change. Their performance today did wonders to justify our belief that they will grow into outstanding footballers very soon.

But I'm not answering the question. How much does this say about the squad? Not a whole lot. It confirmed our convictions about Adu and Szetela, and everyone looked great on the pitch, but they certainly can't expect the same kind of lackadaisical midfield play and mushy, forgiving defense from Brazil, who are still looking to humiliate an opponent with their traditional class and style. The US stands atop the group as of now; whether we don't slip to second by the next round I can't say. I have a good feeling we'll progress to the next round, but I couldn't tell you how soon we're leaving. One game does not a tournament make.

One thing's for sure: we looked damn good on that green stuff today.

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