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Remember that part about experience a few slides back?
Adu's experience and leadership qualities became talking points for journalists before and during the United States' recent Olympic qualifiers.
And despite what some would tell you, Adu—who served as captain and was played out of position—did well at times for the US team.
As for the other times—did you see that roster? Yikes.
The 22-year-old prodigy has been a professional for eight years and it showed during the tournament. He provided leadership and experience to much-less-seasoned teammates, and his play was strong. His dead balls were spot on, his through balls incisive, and even though he was clearly played out of position on the right, Adu took men on with gusto. He could be anonymous for long spells as the play flowed through the opposite wing, but he set up several goals and scored a blinder himself.
With half an hour to play, Adu put the burden of leadership on his shoulders and raised his game to meet the occasion.
Cutting in with authority from the right wing to the center of midfield, Adu controlled the flow of the U.S. attack and created a series of quality chances.
The best two came within four minutes of each other: pinpoint setup passes to Terrence Boyd and Joe Corona, for goals that tied the score in the 65th minute and gave the U.S. the lead in the 68th.
And from NESN:
Things are different this time around. With eight years of pro soccer under his belt, Adu is a grizzled veteran among his peers. Four years of steady progress in MLS were followed by four years in the wilderness of European soccer. Of the 19 players called into training camp ahead of this month's qualifying tournament, Adu has the most professional experience by some measure.
It's hard to fathom how so much experience could be a bad thing for a 22-year-old.