Freddy Adu is the captain of the U20 squad that takes the field today in the Youth World Cup. Jen Chang and I debated this a bit, but I think it's good for Freddy to take on that responsibility.
However, I pointed out that though Freddy has one cap (late minutes in a friendly versus Canada, back in the Bruce Arena era), it's Michael Bradley that has by far the most USMNT experience on this team.
"I'm looking for Michael to step up," I told Jen. "He has to. It strains credibility that he can play with the big guns and then not bring it to the youth teams."
The only issue would be his lack of familiarity with the U20 players. Yet Michael actually has quite a bit of experience with more than a few of them, going back to residency days. He also played with Robbie Rogers while both were in Holland.
Bradley scored in the U20 team's final warm-up match versus New Zealand, a 4-0 romp than unfortunately cost the team my top striker pick, Johan Smith, who suffered a bad ankle sprain.
Preston Zimmerman is a pretty good replacement, and indicates to me that Thomas Rongen has decided on a plan and a system. Replacing Johan with Quavas Kirk would have added a different element of surprise and versatility to the field, but I think Rongen feels what the team has been doing is working. Adding a two-way player like Kirk would change the set-up slightly, and other players have probably looked comfortable enough in their current roles that Rongen probably doesn't want to reconfigure or shake things up so close to the tournament.
Plus, tournament play, especially on the FieldTurf, could aggravate Kirk's foot injury.
Anyway, besides those other tidbits, my point was that I'm looking for Michael Bradley to be one of the central leaders of the U20 team today. The fact that he scored (closed door match, so no telling the quality of the strike, but let's assume it was decent) indicates the confidence to do so. Michael may not be the captain, but as the most-capped player in the group, he is definitely setting an example.