Adu making forward progress for D.C.

a fact not lost on the 16-year-old.

"I haven't felt like that in a very, very long time," he admitted. "I mean, that brought memories of the U-17 (U.S. national team). It was such a great feeling. It motivates you, it makes you want to get the ball and make something happen. I was able to do that, but unfortunately for our team, we weren't able to get a lot out of it."

Adu was quick to defer to his injured captain, noting that he had gotten a glimpse of the strenuous demands typically placed on Moreno as the team's main offensive playmaker.

"You expend a lot of energy playing that role," said Adu. "When you get the ball, there's a lot more attention on you. When Jaime's in the game, he takes most of the attention and you're able to run off him and have a little bit of a free role."

The teen phenom clearly relishes that creative role, but he has recognized the value that head coach Peter Nowak places on the veteran leadership of Moreno and attacking midfielder Christian Gomez, United's other main playmaker.

"I love that position, I'm not going to lie," he said after his 90-minute effort up top. "(But) when Jaime's on the field, Jaime's our captain. He has the most experience and he really knows what he's doing out there. I'm sure if Peter has to choose between me and Jaime, Jaime's going to get that role. But you do whatever you've got to do to help the team."

While reports of tension between Adu and Moreno seem to be overblown, the teenager's continued development can only improve the constant competition for playing time that Nowak craves. And it can only create more tactical headaches for the San Jose Earthquakes coaching staff as they prepare for their visit to RFK on Friday.

Charles Boehm is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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