Adu future still in MLS for now

Adu future still in MLS for now

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By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Freddy Adu will be playing in Major League Soccer for at least a little while longer.

Major League Soccer and Benfica reached an agreement on a $2 million transfer fee for the 18-year-old American, but Adu and the Portuguese club could not work out contract terms, a person familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

FIFA's transfer deadline is Aug. 31, meaning a deal still could be resurrected.

Richard Motzkin, Adu's agent, declined comment.

Adu was to play for Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night in an exhibition game against Argentina's Boca Juniors after missing more than a month with his club while he captained the U.S. team to the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Adu had three goals and four assists as the Americans went 3-1-1 in the tournament.

RSL director of soccer operations John Ellinger, who has been coaching Adu since he was 12, said although the first round of negotiations fell through, talks with Benfica was not finished.

"I know Freddy has called his agent and said 'It's still open. Don't let this get off the table.' It's still a real possibility," Ellinger said before Tuesday's game. "As a club, we're ecstatic to keep him and we're ecstatic for him if he gets a chance to play overseas. That's kind of how we feel about it."

Adu is his first season with Real Salt Lake, which acquired him from D.C. United last year knowing that he would turn 18 this summer and become eligible under FIFA's rules to transfer outside his home country.

Adu has just one goal and two assists in 11 MLS games for RSL, which is a league-worst 1-8-6. ------ AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-07-24-07 1956MDT

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