The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final ultimately ended as a frustrating and sour 4-2 defeat for Team USA, but amidst the carnage of a decimated back line defense emerged a lone bright spot, one that had not been seen in American soccer for what seemed like eons. That's right, the Jackie Earle Haley of American soccer, Freddy Adu, was a surprise starter for (embattled) coach Bob Bradley and was instrumental in both goals scored by the American squad.
It appears Adu's strong work as a substitute against Panama in the semifinal match earned him the start Saturday night (he set up the eventual game-winning goal). His start against Mexico was his first in over two years for Team USA, and his insertion into the starting line-up made coach Bob Bradley look like a genius, at least for the first 28 minutes of play. Adu assisted on both U.S. goals, taking the corner kick Michael Bradley scored on and also delivering the pass to Clint Dempsey that Dempsey would eventually turn into an assist on Landon Donovan's goal, giving Team USA a 2-0 lead.
As many soccer fans will recall, Adu was supposed to be the future of American soccer, and was drafted at the age of 14 by D.C. United. He became the youngest player to appear in a MLS game, and the youngest to score a goal in a MLS game. He never lived up to the enormous billing, and had virtually fallen off the radar of soccer aficionados the past few years. Still just 22 years old, perhaps it's time for Freddy Adu to shine bright for the U.S. Men's National Team, a decade after all the hype.