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Conor Casey, Freddy Adu and the advent of logic

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Rapids

Freddy Adu is probably a goner.

No, it’s not just because he’s listed on the team roster without a jersey number, with his No. 11 assigned to Sebastien Le Toux.

It’s something else, something wholly new for Philadelphia Union that hit me square between the eyes Friday after the club chose Conor Casey in the MLS Re-Entry Draft:

The Union now do things logically.

Gone are the days of having to read the tea leaves, consult your astrologer, and hire the Watergate burglars to predict which player personnel move the club will make next.

No longer must we study surreptitiously taken photographs from team practices and then compare them against the KGB database of all known footballers to identify the unnamed Union trialists.

Finally, we may predict with some degree of rational certainty what Union manager John Hackworth will do in a given situation, because it will adhere to commonly accepted principles and patterns of logic and common sense.

Do you have a bunch of unproductive central American imports on your roster that you never wanted? Get rid of them.

Are you short on forwards? Do you need hard-working veterans to rebuild and reframe the team culture? Acquire the two best veteran forwards in MLS currently out of contract, both of whom are known for their terrific work rates.

Does that top defender from Philly want to actually play for Philly at a time when there are question marks around your other center backs? Well, go trade for him.

Did your overpaid but talented would-be superstar underperform during his tenure with the team? Well, maybe it’s time to move him along.

So it is that one must deduce Freddy Adu may be as good as gone.

Adu could renegotiate his contract to stay with the team, but doing so could leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. Maybe some other club will pay him that kind of money to finally make good on all that talent.

But it probably won’t be the Union, if they can get out of the contract. It’s simply not logical.

And suddenly, the Union are logical.

This totally threw me for a loop. It shouldn’t, but it did.

It’s the conditioning, you see. We’d all been Pavloved, conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to think certain things will happen because that’s what had in the past. Our reasoning had begun operating on a different, distorted paradigm: You need a new player. The guy you should take is very, very obvious. So therefore you take someone else. Of course! You expect it. You need a playmaker, so you acquire a defensive midfielder. Naturally! Your best players include your talismanic striker, veteran goalkeeper, and captain/center back, so of course you get rid of all of them. Like so, Union observers are conditioned to expect the illogical.

Conor Casey’s selection flies in the face of all that. The Union needed veteran forwards: One to run, and one to bang. Now the Union have them. The drawback for Casey is he had to leave his hometown team, but he apparently didn’t fit into Oscar Pareja’s plans in Colorado. Casey will have to agree to a lower salary in Philadelphia after a rough post-injury patch, but that seems logical. He wants to play but hasn’t yet returned to form after a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in 2011. He’s a team guy and hard worker — exactly the opposite of the Adu’s reputation — so even if he’s never an all-star again, he can play a role with Sebastien Le Toux and Jack McInerney. He could fit in well in Philadelphia. If he doesn’t sign with the club, he should draw trade interest from other teams. It all seems logical, doesn’t it?

Like so, Adu will probably move on from the Union. After all, it’s too logical not to happen.



  1. Haha. Liked the “tea leaves, astrologer” analogy.

    How are CC’s knees? Still remember him scoring the clincher in 2010 WCQ. If he can hit that form again it’s a coup.

    Good article, Dan.

  2. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Not that this ia bad article or that it makes no points, but you know what else is logical? Bringing in proven MLS goalscorers (LT, CC) so Adu’s assits actually end up getting put into the back of then net.
    Still wish he was gone tough.

    • Very, very good point. I thought about going into that but then decided against it because I still think the bottom line is that Adu will probably depart.

      Personally, I think they should try to keep Adu if he renegotiates to a salary of $175k or under. But I don’t think that will happen.

      • To me that has been the issue for awhile. Not that we didn’t have some talent, gomez and adu both are not scrubs(even though they can be infuriating at times) but they both make/made way to much money on a team with guys making not nearly as much and were running them off the field(comparatively).

  3. I like the Casey drafting. So how do you think Hack will use him? I prefer a 4-1-3-2, but it seems like Hack would rather play Casey in the middle of the 4-3-3 with Jack and Seba on either side.

    • Not sure, to be honest. I’m still not sure if they’ll keep or trade him. Each could make sense.

      If a 4-3-3: Le Toux didn’t score a ton while deployed on the wing in Vancouver, and if I recall correctly (correct me if I’m wrong), they were playing a 4-3-3 while he was there. But if they’re OK with 8-10 goals from Le Toux for the season, then a 4-3-3 could happen. Just not sure how Mac would fare in it either, as he’s not particularly a burner.

      • This is a problem all of our forwards need to be located in the middle to be,effective and we have no one who can blast the ball in from about the 18.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Proven veteran. Threatening Striker (with size). Not seeing how trading that would make sense.

      • Never know what they could get. I’m not advocating it. Just saying it’s a possibility.

      • UnitedPenn13 says:

        I was just looking at the team roster on their web site and Conor Casey isn’t listed at all. Whats up with that?

  4. Each time that I think that Adu will be leaving the Union, I keep coming back to “where on earth is he going to go?”

    No European team is going to buy him for any amount of money as he isn’t worth it so they would only want him on a free or a minor transfer fee. Yet, there’s no way that MLS is going to let a well-known player such as Adu walk on a free as that would be a bad PR move for the league. Also, no team in MLS is going to trade for him at his current salary so his domestic options are limited as well.

    What am I missing here?

    • He is cheap by european standards and I can see some second division club rolling the dice in hopes of moving up.

      • His existing salary is cheap for big European clubs, but they wouldn’t want him and there’s no way a 2nd division club in any European country would be able to afford a player on $400k/yr.

    • There are options. If I was an MLS club (including the Union), I would absolutely take a chance on Adu for a lower salary, provided you feel he won’t hurt the team chemistry. The Union could trade him and offer to pick up part of his salary for the season, as Toronto did after trading Julian de Guzman to Dallas. The two sides could agree to break the contract, a la Rafa Marquez, so that Adu is free to go where he wants. Another team could decide they’re just the place for Adu to be a star, noting (as James notes above) the lack of adequate finishers for the chances Adu created with the Union, and take on the full salary.

      • Sure, lots of MLS clubs would want him at a lower salary, but if he was willing to accept a lower salary to stay in MLS, the Union would rather keep him then.

        Safe to say that MLS HQ views Freddy Adu and Rafa Marquez as two totally different situations.

    • I will put money on the fact that Portland will want him with Caleb Porter, because Porter understands his worth and knows where to place him on the pitch to make him effective. Everyone will say that well they did not make the Olympics, well that was not Adu’s fault it was the Defense and the Goal Keeper.

  5. I think most of us figured this would happen. The bigger surprise is that LeToux is wearing #11 and that jac mac didn’t gift #9 back to Seba.

    • Seba’s new number isn’t surprising. At least from a business perspective. Who sells more jerseys, Le Toux or Jack Mac? Now, how many fans have a #11 Le Toux jersey? The same goes for Adu (if he stays). Like it or not, he’s a bigger brand than Seba, so switch him to #10 and sell more jerseys.

      • If we keep Casey he will likely wear #10. I have a #9 Le Toux Jersey so I wish McInerney would give it back, but really only for that reason. I’m fine with McInerney wearing #9 assuming he scores the way he did last year. If he struggles he better give it up next year.

  6. Who replaces Adu then? We can’t just sell Adu because you all don’t like him. We already lack creativity in the attack, and selling Adu without a replacement lined up would just put us back at square 1.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Roger Torres

      • Roger Torres is not the answer. Freddy Adu is a better player than Torres right now, and Roger doesn’t bring more to the table than Freddy already does. We need a strong playmaker in the middle of the field regardless of whether Adu stays or goes anyway.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree, Adu is a better player. If, however, Adu is transferred out, then Roger Torres becomes our next best option at the CAM.

  7. SO, if no Adu, whose distributing to CC & Seba other than Marfan?

  8. Maybe we will actually try Adu at the position we thought he was brought in to play? Namely, as the 10 sitting underneath two strikers in a diamond. Marfan is devastating on the wing and either Garfan or Keon would be a good fit defensively on the other side of that formation. Then Okugo holding with Parke and Valdes the CBs. Williams and Gaddis the fullbacks. I feel Adu would be in good in that lineup.

  9. OK, Captain Logic. If we can now use our brains to predict the Union’s next move, then what is the Union’s next move?

  10. Union Rumors says:

    We still have the as-yet-to-open transfer window coming up, and (I’ll have to look for the statements) Hack & Co. mentioned CAM and LB being priorities.

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