The big story of the night was the Union debut of Fredy Adu, but it was Sebastien LeToux who made the headlines with two goals from the penalty spot as the Union fought back for a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas. It was a fairly exciting and chippy affair and while the Union will be happy about the fight back, they'll rue the fact that they've failed to earn three points for the fourth time in as many games.
The first Dallas goal came from a woeful mistake from the usually sound Carlos Valdez, whose miscommunication with goalie Faryd Mondragon gifted a goal to Maicon Santos. The Union would respond quickly when Ugo Ihemelu who brought down Justin Mapp for the first penalty of the night. LeToux would bury that to even the game at one. Dallas got it back however as Brek Shea, who played so well for the USMNT in Philly on Wednesday, scored in stoppage time to make it 2-1.
The Dallas defense kind of lost the plot in the second as defender George John was sent off with two yellows after a needless challenge and then Zach Lloyd needlessly brought down Gabriel Farfan right on the edge of the box, which the ref judged to be a penalty. LeToux also buried that one to even it up.
If the first half wasn't entertaining enough, the second half sure didn't lack drama. FC Dallas was battling to hold on to a 2-1 lead when first defender George John was issued a second yellow card to end his night early and then Zach Loyd brought down Gabe Farfan in the box for the game's second penalty kick. Sebastien Le Toux stepped up and scored the game-tying goal, his second of the night from the penalty spot.
Danny Mwanga had a chance from close range saved in the waning minutes as the Union were forced to settle for the draw once again.
Freddy Adu played about 60 minutes in his debut and did look lively despite only one afternoon of training with the team. That said, no would will find anything about his performance particularly special, which is understandable considering he's been on the team for a little over 24 hours. Peter Nowak called him over to the sidelines at least once during the game to explain where he wanted Adu on the field. Clearly, Adu will become more accustomed to the system with time.
The draw moves the Union into a tie atop the Eastern Conference with 34 points.
The Philadelphia Union officially unveiled Freddy Adu as their newest signing yesterday and today, they’ve named him in their starting IX for tonight’s match against FC Dallas. Apparently Union coach Peter Nowak wasn’t joking when he said that Adu’s place was "“in the starting 11” at his introductory press conference.
The attacking midfielder will be looking to boost the Union attack who has scored 27 goals in 22 games this year, which puts them at only 12th out of 18 MLS teams in scoring. Adu scored 13 goals in 98 MLS appearances during his first stint in the league, which began when he was only 14.
“I think I am a better player today than when I left MLS four years ago." Adu said. "Maturing helps a lot. As the years go on, you get older and start to put things together.”
He also said yesterday that the Union may have new US Men’s National Team boss Jurgen Klinsmann to thank in part for Freddy deciding to return to MLS.
“I had a talk with Jurgen before camp and also when I was in camp,” said Adu. “His advice really helped me make this decision [to come back to MLS]. He told me that no matter where I end up, if I am playing and playing well, I will get my chance.”
The Union Host FC Dallas tonight at PPL Park at 8:05. You can catch the game on 6ABC.
Freddy Adu will be in the 18 man match squad and available for selection as the Philadelphia Union host FC Dallas tonight at PPL Park. Whether Adu starts or comes on as a sub remains to be seen, but this evening is a big matchup for the Union and the 22 year old says he hopes to play.
“I hope I get a chance to play,” Adu said. “Whatever the case, whether it’s tomorrow or the next week or the week after, I’m ready. You’ve got to be ready and on your toes. This is a big game against Dallas. I’m not thinking about walking out of the tunnel. I’m just concentrating on winning the game. Dallas is a pretty good team.”
Both the Union and FC Dallas sit second in their respective conferences. The Union have led in the East for most of the season, but poor form recently has seen them overtaken by the Columbus Crew. Philly has just one win in their last five games and have earned only 2 out of possible nine points in their last three. A win over Dallas tonight could see them back to the top of the table in the East.
Coach Peter Nowak said this week that the team has look lethargic and hopes the addition of Adu and the home crowd infuses some energy into the squad.
“We need to find our energy back,” Nowak said. “We need to play the game we love to play. That was our strength for [the first] 19 games and the last three games we lacked that.”
The Philadelphia Union introduced their newest signing this afternoon, former Benfica and current USMNT member Freddy Adu. The club acquired Adu on a free transfer from the Portugese club and noted that he will not count as a “designated player.” The move re-unites the former phenom with coach Peter Nowak, who was the head man at DC United when Freddy made his professional debut. Their relationship at the time was not ideal and Adu often butted heads with him over playing time. Speaking to the media this afternoon, Freddy says he learned a lot from his time under Nowak, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
“You really appreciate who the real people are in your life, who really care about you and want you to succeed,” Adu said. “I didn’t see it that way when I first came into the league. I thought Peter was just on me all the time. He was trying to make me better and I saw that when I went to Europe. When you realize that, you appreciate everything he tried to do.”
It’s worth noting that when he made his debut with DC United, Adu was just 14 years old.
“It’s difficult being young and a little bit immature,” Nowak said. “You don’t realize the big picture in life. Right now, he has shown great commitment in coming back and finding out what is important in his life. I welcome him back with open arms. We know each other very well and over time, after DC United, we felt closer to each other and under each other more and more.”
To say a 14 year old was “a little immature” and didn’t realize the big picture would be understating it… Even now, when people see him as a veteran he’s still only 22. As for where he fits into the Union setup? The remains to be seen. He’s chiefly an attacking midfielder, but could play on the wing or at forward.
“I’m here to help the team, whether it’s at forward, midfield or wherever, even on the bench." Adu said, "I’ve learned a lot from the last few years and you have to be ready to go anywhere on the field. Wherever they feel is best to help the team, so be it.”
Nowak would only say that Adu’s position was “in the starting 11.”