This is a year for redemption in U.S. Soccer. We've seen it locally with Charlie Davies, whose unbelievable comeback from life-threatening injury now has him as one of the top goalscorers in MLS, leading DC United from dead last in 2010 to competitive in 2011.
And last night, the USA vs. Panama Gold Cup semifinal match has us all talking about yet another young American making a shocking comeback, and he just happens to have significant local connections as well. Freddy Adu came out of almost literally nowhere (the Turkish 2nd Division is about as close as you can get to nowhere) to set up the winning goal for the U.S. His perfectly lobbed cross to the on-rushing Landon Donovan gave LD all the space he needed to find Clint Dempsey at the back post for the finish.
The game would end with a final score of 1-0, but it wasn't the only positive play that Adu made. He pitched in some other smart runs, and held the ball up well to assist in preserving the victory.
Aside from the goal, it should also be noted that the Americans have now gone three straight matches without allowing a goal. Credit the defense, and Bob Bradley as well. But scoring only once might not be enough in the next round.
With Panama in the rear view mirror, the USA will be heading to the Rose Bowl in LA to face Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup Final for the third straight time.