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Kick Off: Mixed signals in Philly with Adu's future unknown
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Kick Off: Mixed signals in Philly with Adu's future unknown

Freddy Adu’s future never seems straightforward, and that’s once again the case for the former youth phenom in Philadelphia.

Adu didn’t dress for the Union’s final two regular-season games, and manager John Hackworth said following the season finale that the pair would have a “heart-to-heart talk and see what’s best for both of us.”

Well, it seems that’s happened, but Hackworth wasn’t willing to make the contents public other than to say there’s a possibility Adu will still be around come 2013. There is plenty of writing on the wall, however.

"Definitely I think there is a chance Freddy will be back," Hackworth said. "Freddy and I continue to talk of our options going forward."

"The reality is he has to focus, to change some things in order for him to reach that full potential," Hackworth added.

One Philly youngster striving to reach his potential is Zac MacMath, who will return to Everton in the offseason for the third straight year to train alongside Tim Howard. Meanwhile, Cristhian Hernandez will train with La Liga’s Real Sociedad.

Speaking of Howard, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl spoke with the US No. 1 at length about his future at Everton and his thoughts on racism in soccer. Wahl also provides some tidbits on Jozy Altidore's approach to the US national team, Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez and Beckham's MLS buy-in.

Tuesday will be all about the presidential election, but come Wednesday focus will shift back to MLS Cup Playoff action, as three teams will book their place in the conference finals.

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, The New York Times and Goal.com, complete with goal breakdowns from first and second legs in MLS Playoff history, provided their guides to each game as the field prepares to narrow even further.

The first game of Wednesday's tripleheader comes in New York (8 pm ET, NBCSN), where D.C. United will have to find a way to replace the suspended Andy Najar. With things all even at 1-1 following two own-goals in the first leg, can this series offer up any more drama?

Sporting Kansas City have a mountain to climb after dropping a 2-0 result in Houston on Sunday. Check out the Kansas City Star's breakdown of that result as well as Wednesday's second leg (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online), and find out which SKC midfielder is likely to miss out at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Houston have some injury concerns as well after Jermaine Taylor limped off in the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Can the Dynamo fill his shoes?

San Jose host the Galaxy in the nightcap (11 pm ET, ESPN2, TSN2/RDS2), which figures to be a "do-or-die match" for LA after conceding a late goal at the Home Depot Center. They need a strong performance from Landon Donovan, among others, to move on. Still, one columnist says Donovan's legacy is just fine.

One of the players tasked with slowing down the Galaxy was named Soccer By Ives' Newcomer of the Year in MLS. Find out who here.

Finally, on Thursday, Real Salt Lake will host Seattle (9:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online; TSN2) as the teams attempt to break a scoreless deadlock. One positive for Seattle? Eddie Johnson will almost certainly be in the starting lineup.

Nick Rimando will be in goal for RSL depite taking a nast blow at CenturyLink Field, and The New York Times has the complete roundup on that incident, and Seattle 'keeper Michael Gspurning's reaction to his fans booing.

We end in Canada, where there is plenty to talk about with all three MLS sides north of the border.

First, in Montreal, Nick Sabetti dissects Jesse Marsch's exit as Impact manager after just one season with the club. And a relatively successful one at that.

To the west, Vancouver DP Kenny Miller says he can be an impact player in MLS with a full preseason to help integrate him into Martin Rennie's side.

Finally, one columnist wonders if MLS is actually helping develop young Canadian talent and explores methods to improve that process.

One method suggested was loans to lower-division sides. Here are a few players one writer thinks could make the jump from NASL to MLS.

The NASL officially unveiled a new franchise. Find out where.

And check out the ways you can help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, by logging onto MLS W.O.R.K.S. and learning about the street team that helped out in Queens, N.Y., over the weekend.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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