CHESTER, Pa. – The Freddy Adu situation had already been resolved by the time he stepped onto the field as part of the Philadelphia Union’s starting XI for Sunday’s game against the New England Revolution.
But for Adu – who didn’t travel to Red Bull Arena for Philly’s last game because of a “team matter” – scoring a goal in the Union’s thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory made his return to the lineup even sweeter.
“It feels good to be on the field, it really does,” Adu said after the game. “I know there was speculation but it’s great to be with my teammates and great to be with my coaches. It’s good to be out there and help the team win.”
Adu scored the game-tying goal when he beat New England goalkeeper Matt Reis with a penalty kick in the 58th minute. He stepped up to the spot after Jack McInerney, who would later net the game-winner in the 90th minute, was clipped from behind as he streaked toward goal.
“Freddy said, ‘I wanted it,’” Union interim manager John Hackworth said, “and [Gabriel] Gómez looked over at me because he’s really good at those, too, and I said, ‘Let Freddy take it.' When a player’s feeling it like that, you don’t want to mess with that. It was great for him to put that in the back of the net.”
WATCH: Adu buries penalty kick
Adu became the third player to score a PK goal in league play this season for the Union, who are 10-for-10 from the spot in franchise history. Adu also bagged two PKs in US Open Cup contests this year.
“Gavi [Gómez] wanted to take it but I talked to him,” Adu said. “I told him I wanted to take it. I’m confident. I had taken the ones before when he wasn’t around because he was injured. I felt good, so I stepped up and took it.”
While Hackworth was glad to see Adu have the confidence to step up and score his third goal in league play this season, he was even happier that one of his top playmakers put in the work necessary to help the offense shake off a rough first half and earn their first come-from-behind victory of the season.
“I think the fact that he trained hard all week and that he was really good and that he played really well tonight says a lot more for me than if he scores a goal or not,” Hackworth said. “We need Freddy to be important for our team if we’re going to be successful."
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.