Corey Hertzog

It’s official: Freddy Adu is back in the U.S. with NASL side Tampa Bay

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies are hoping a reunion with former coach Thomas Rongen is enough to boost Freddy Adu back into productivity.

Adu, 26, joins his 10th team since leaving Real Salt Lake in 2007. After time in Portugal, France, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bahia and Finland, the once next big thing will hope to reclaim his status as a productive player.

[ MORE: Trace the winding career of Freddy Adu ]

There are no quotes from Adu in the press release, but Rongen’s words certainly carry a lot of weighty understanding of what lies ahead: the massaging of a player who’s gone from future megastar expectations to a loan in Finland’s fourth tier.

From RowdiesSoccer.com:

“Freddy and I have always respected each other,” Rongen said. “He’s a very unique player, very gifted. He’s a difference-maker. He’s got superb technical ability and field awareness. He’s a guy that I’ve always enjoyed being around on and off the field. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and is a good teammate. He can make any team better.”

 

…“I’m someone he relates to and someone he feels comfortable with,” Rongen said. “I like daring, creative players and Freddy has those qualities. His signing has immense upside for a club that is already making its mark in the NASL.”

This could be Adu coming out of the darkest portion of his career, one that saw him loaned from Finland’s top flight to its fourth tier, playing in near-empty stadia.

Adu becomes the second player with U.S. national team experience on the Rowdies, joining Gale Agbossoumonde.

Rongen has worked wonders with several players careers, and is currently coaxing several former big name prospects into production (See: Corey Hertzog). Honestly, this might be the fix to help right the good ship Adu, or at least bail out the water.

Highlights and context of Vancouver’s draw at San Jose

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You never want to drop points at home, but for San Jose, things need to be put in perspective. The Supporters’ Shield holders had to push through March with injuries to Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon, Marvin Chavez and Steven Beitashour. With their striking duo back, the Earthquakes can start assembling the team that will compete over the rest of the season.

That doesn’t mean everything’s going to come together overnight. On Saturday, the team looked a lot better with Gordon in the starting XI. He provided the focal point off which Chris Wondolowski likes to play, a dynamic that produced San Jose’s first half goal.

When Steven Lenhart made his season debut in the second half, San Jose had their two number nines on the field together for the first time this season.

But the `Quakes still aren’t clicking to the same degree as last year, so when Corey Hertzog equalized for Vancouver in the second half, San Jose didn’t have enough for their trademark Goonie response. The match was left drawn, 1-1.

For Frank Yallop’s team, it was a step forward. You could see the team San Jose will be two, three months from now. With the attack starting to come together, the Earthquakes can start moving forward. Their proof (or re-proof) of concept is in place. They can be happy with the performance, if not necessarily the result.

For Vancouver? They just got a point on the road again last year’s Western Conference champions. Of course this was a good result, especially considering Kenny Miller was unable to do. They needed a bit of luck for Daigo Kobayashi’s deflected ball to fall to Hertzog, but holding San Jose to one goal, they made their luck standup.

Here are the highlights from Saturday’s 1-1 in Santa Clara.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77vWIfNOYSM%5D