- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 11, 2008

Freddy Adu and goalie Troy Perkins are no strangers to RFK Stadium.

The pair, who began their pro careers there in 2004 with D.C. United, will be back at the venue today with the U.S. national team as it faces Cuba. The game could help the Americans take another step toward reaching the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“This is where I started my professional career,” Adu said. “Without this I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Adu likely will start on the bench for the United States while Perkins, a third-string goalie behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, will not dress.

“There are 23 guys here, so we all have to fight for spots,” Adu said.

A win over Cuba would book the Americans in the final six-team round of World Cup qualifying with still two games to go in the semifinal round. It also will allow U.S. coach Bob Bradley to use some of his reserve players for Wednesday’s game at Trinidad and Tobago. Both Adu and Perkins could play in that match.

The United States has scored 14 goals and posted five straight shutouts in its five qualifying games in this World Cup cycle.

Adu is trying to break into the first team at Monaco, which competes in the French league. The 19-year-old enjoys living in the wealthy country on the French Riviera.

“It’s an amazing place, obviously, and probably one of the nicest places in the world,” Adu said. “I’m not complaining.”

United sold Perkins to Norwegian club Valerenga IF after four seasons with the team. Culture shock awaited him in Norway, though.

“It’s been the best move I’ve made in my career,” the 27-year-old said. “Taxes are 50 percent, and you pay $50,000 for a Kia,” he said.

But Perkins said he loves Norway and that he and his wife expect their first child next year. While Adu has played nine times for the U.S. team, Perkins hopes to break into the squad.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to size up on how much he has improved and how he fits in,” Bradley said.

Perkins played 77 games with United and earned 19 shutouts.

“For me coming in [to U.S. team camp] it’s a big hurdle to jump, but I’m going to do everything I can to clear it,” Perkins said.

Both players said they keep up with United. Adu, who totaled 11 goals and 17 assists in 87 games with United, fretted over his old club’s recent struggles.

“I know now things aren’t going exactly the way they would like it to,” Adu said, “but they’ve still got leaders like Jaime Moreno here and Clyde Simms is still here, and I know they will pick it back up.”



Click to Read More

Click to Hide