Fans' View

Fans’ View: Much Edu about nothing

Photo: Earl Gardner

Wow! What an excellent start to the season.

I expected an improved side, but I did not expect a top of the table-level improved side. Sure, the record isn’t spotless and we’d love to have some of those numbers in the third column belong to the first column, but we are Union fans, we’ve got nothing to complain about. The starting XI has been one of the toughest units to face due to a smothering pressure-style that has been rewriting all thoughts of the Union as an easy game. I never really understood the term “tip of the spear” until this season when CJ Sapong has been sharp and deadly all year.

But all of the excitement has gotten me to almost forget one of our best players has yet to take a touch this season. Yeah, remember Maurice Edu? You know, the only Designated Player in franchise history who anchored our defense over the last few years. Right, that guy. So the Union are in first place without arguably their best player. I know I just said the same thing like four times, but I’m truly struggling with comprehending it.

The success of the Union really raises an interesting question: What to do with Edu? This raises a classic team dynamic question as I personally believe Edu has become a forgotten man. I know if I were Curtin, I’d be none too excited about having to make a decision when he comes back. At center back, we’ve got three solid performers and another Brazilian waiting, so we don’t need him to play there. As far as being a box-to-box kind of guy, well, we already have an excellent one with Vincent Nogueira, who has, in a limited sample size, not played well with Edu. And we’ve all seen Herr Klinsmann trying the “double pivot” with Bradley and Jones to no avail.

So what do you do when you can’t get your best player on the field? It’s got to be one of two things: he has to go, for the betterment of the team, or he has to change.

Knowing how talented Edu is, it makes it nearly impossible to not play him, but the Union can’t just put him anywhere on the field. Is he better than Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle? Yes, but maybe not at his contract cost.

I hope he proves me wrong and comes back and becomes a destroyer in the midfield. But I’m a Union fan, I need something to worry and complain about.

49 Comments

  1. Edu is not “the only Designated Player in franchise history” -Freddy Adu, Fernando Aristeguieta, Kleberson, Cristian Maidana, and “some dude who played in a little tournament in Brazil” were all Designated Players I believe.
    .
    (I’m not 100% on “he-who-shall-not-be-named” because he is no longer listed on the MLS website as a former DP but I believe it was announced that he was when he was signed)

    • Not sure on Kleberson or Adu, but Maidana, Aristiguieta, and the atrocity that kept the Blake era from starting sooner all made under the 468,500 mark required to be a true DP last year when they were with us. (Note that Quillo and skillsinho both make more than that now, but were signed using TAM to “buy down” their cap hit so they don’t use DP slots.)

      • Aristiguieta was a “young DP” so the cap threshold was different.
        .
        Maidana was a DP for one full season because the transfer fee was included.
        .
        Kleberson and Adu, I believe, were DPs as long as they were with the team.
        .
        Again, not 100% sure of he-who-shall-not-be-named.

      • John Ling says:

        I’m 99.9% certain you have Fernando correct – he was a “young DP” which lowered the threshold.
        .
        The others also sound right to me, but my confidence level is a bit lower…

    • Respect to Maidana, Aristiguieta was a young DP. But look at the rest of that list, I’m not sure you can call Kleberson or Adu players.

      • Fair enough. I was just under the impression that it was a typo or just misspoken and that you meant he is “the only DP on the current roster.
        .
        .
        With respect to the overall article tho, I’m with you in that I hope he comes in, understands and plays his role as a holding midfield destroyer. Hopefully the success of the team without him is helping him realize he doesn’t have to do too much – just his job in the system.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I never understood why Kleberson did not play.
        .
        He was more certainly and indubitably a player back in the day.
        .
        And I noticed he is still on the Indy Eleven NASL roster the other week when I went looking.

      • because when Kleberson played the game resembled something better than it was and that wasn’t a good thing.
        .
        clearly the was not was paradox.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        There had to be some additional fee owed to Bahia if Kleberson played a certain amount of minutes/games and Sak told Hack to keep him on the bench. It was always about trying to get those Class B units “in the money”.

  2. Hopefully, the Union have the luxury of easing him back in as cover for Nogueira (who as great as he is, still seems a bit injury prone) and to rotate through at the 6 in some games. He may not love that, but given the start we’ve had and the midfielders being very effective thus far, we really should be in a position to ease Edu back in gradually and see how he fits.

  3. “we are Union fans, we’ve nothing to complain about” – good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee reading this or I would have destroyed my computer.
    .
    I agree with the “he needs to change” sentiment. I think if he is performing well in training, then he deserves a look over a starter like Creavalle or BC, but then it’s up to him to prove that he belongs in the long term plan.
    .
    I really do hope his recovery is coming along well. Stress fractures are one of the most frustrating injuries.

  4. Anyone know when he is due back? I haven’t seen a date in a while.

    • End of this month or sometime next month based on the timeline that was given when his injury was first announced.

  5. He’s a good locker room presence… it would be a loss in morale if he goes away. Maybe he can be a super sub ??

    • i thought loss in morale as well, initially. but i think this team can do without him on that front. i’d be content with him being on the bench if this current chemistry keeps getting results.

      what to do with Mo is too much of a distraction to be worth upsetting what’s working.

  6. Edu has to play.
    .
    The formation and personnel then become the question.
    .
    There are choices in this regard but Edu plays.
    .
    If I were Jim Curtin I would be Thrilled about having to make this decision.
    .

    • You are 100% correct. While it may take him til mid-August or even early September to get back to full fitness, make no mistake about it…Mo Edu is a huge difference maker in this league that the U will need if they want to make noise in the playoffs.
      *
      As for where to play him, my guess would be as a hybrid rotating between the #6 and #8 positions, depending on the opponent and situation. At 100%, Mo starts every time over Carroll, Creavalle, and Nogs. Also, if Richie or 1 of the 2 youngsters go down at center back, Mo can play there too. He’s incredibly valuable, so to those who say “sell him”, you should really re-assess that uninformed opinion.
      *
      End of the day, he’s a top 3 player on this team and arguably the best when 100% healthy. No way you sit a guy like that on the roster. Ever.

      • Yeah, Edu plays no matter what. He’s easily the best CB on the roster and he’s easily the best #6 on the roster. I think the whole plan is to have him drop between the CBs in the attack so our formation turns into a 3-4-3 when we attack. With his strength and speed back there it will be really hard for teams to counter against that. The way the coaches have been able to get everyone to buy into their role and the shape of the team I have high hopes they can get Edu to do this as well. If that does happen it takes our team to a whole new level.

      • Don’t forget that a new sheriff is in town – Big Earn.
        .
        I’m sure he made it very clear that Edu either does his job or he’ll be finding a new one.

      • “have him drop between the CBs in the attack so our formation turns into a 3-4-3”
        .
        I think this would work well. I also think then you start Yaro over Tribbet, using Mo to cover Yaro’s smaller size, but still take advantage of Yaro’s great passing.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I think you are overestimating Edu’s talents. He has as bad a first touch as Zardes and takes more time to get rid of the ball then most CDM and he can’t stay in a position and just do what he is suppose to. Sure he is athletic and yes he has the ability to be great, but top 3 on this team is not even close any more. Barnetta, Nogs, Blake, Marquez, Sapong all clearly better if you ask me. I could also make arguments for Pontius, Ilsinho, and even Carroll being better in this team then Edu. At $700,000 there is so much more we could get then just Edu. Like a capable LB, a backup striker/ or starter, and someone to backup Nogs. Getting rid of Edu probably puts the union on about $1,000,000 to play with with a roster spot open. Two if you put Ayuk loaned to Steel for the rest of the year. I just don’t see Edu making that big of a difference on this team.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        you only get c. $457,000 if Edu goes away because that is a DP’s salary cap charge this season.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Ok yes you are probably right plus whatever was dropped for Lahoud so maybe only around $500,000 in cap space. Still think it is more valuable than Edu from what I have seen the past few years.

      • I’m not an Edu supporter- never been. If Maurice Edu is healthy, he has to play though.
        .
        If he settles in he could be a big big assist to this team moving forward — at least this season.
        .
        Guy is a bonafide MLS MVP destroyer if he accepts the responsibility moving forward.
        .
        Touch. Speed. Grace. Guile. The whole MLS necessary package.

      • Dr. Union says:

        But does he ever accept the responsibility, I say no he doesn’t. If he did I agree he could be great, but this is just could and not is.

      • we cannot determine this as the whole infrastructure has changed.
        .
        Let’s give him the opportunity under this new leadership to prove his worth IMO.
        .

      • Im borderline insulted you compared his first touch to zardes. Exactly where in edu’s career as a mainstay in the USNT for years, a good starter for rangers and our best defender do you gather his first touch is that bad? Actually i AM insulted. Zardes first touch is semi pro quality and all edu has ever done for us is lock down a cb spot because he was nice enough to play out of position because our team was shit back then.

        Not sure where all this edu hate comes from. Yes he makes money. Remember how we all hated the pontius move because of his contract? How is that working out?

        Good teams have good players, and usually good players make good money. We have to oive with it. And i agree, i think edu has mls mvp destroyer talent in him.

      • first touch? does Zardes even have touch?

      • Dr. Union says:

        My argument does not rise from his past skills when he was at Rangers sure great touch great movement athleticism etc. My argument lies in the last few years he has been with the union. Yes he has been a quality defender and playing supposedly out of position, but his runs were untimely from the back and he is bad at keeping the structure of a team. Could he be a great destroyer if he has the responsibility? Sure, but I’ve never seen where he can do that while playing in MLS. As far as his touch goes look back at some of the tapes when he was in the middle of the field time and time again balls are turned over by him cause he makes a bad trap, the ball comes off his foot wrong, or he pushes it to far out in front of him. I think he has skill I just think he is overpaid and not needed. Now him at $450,000 playing nothing but CB and staying home like a good CB should, except on corners then I think you got yourself a player, but otherwise I pass.

      • Joe Schmoe says:

        I agree with you, Dr. Union. Edu loses the ball way too much (dribbling, errant passes) when he plays in the middle. That’s what I remember of his (admittedly, brief) time as a defensive midfielder WITH THE UNION. He can still be a valuable asset if he plays a more disciplined game.

      • Edu is a better CB than Marquez. If you are really arguing that Carroll is better than Edu (even just for this team) you have just crossed the line of realistic opinion to Edu hate. Why stop there, I love Carroll but he’s so limited now he’s the first spot we should be looking to upgrade as a starter.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Edu could be a better CB than Marquez, but currently I don’t agree. As far as the Carroll argument goes yeah you could say its unrealistic to say he is better than Edu, but he protects the backline keeps the shape of the team and is a coach on the field. Plus Carroll is brilliant at cutting off passing lanes. All these things I wish Edu could do because by far he is the better athlete and in the past yeah he was far and beyond Carroll, but I have not seen when Edu plays in MLS where his value is. He doesn’t keep the structure of the team he was weak as a captain (could be better now) and he does not communicate well. Sure Edu has more talent, a better offensive game, and more athleticism, but he is lacking the things this team needs when you pull someone like Carroll off the field. I do however agree that Carroll is one of the first people this team should be looking to replace, but I said that all offseason and they didn’t get anyone.

      • This is one of the more unrealistic posts I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading on this site. Blake is a GK, they are exempt. Barnetta is the only player on this team who rivals Mo Edu in value.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Really, have you watched the team lately? Has Edu been playing? Say what you will, but since Edu was brought to this team this was no sudden rise in team play or ability for the team. When the rest of the players I listed were brought on to this team it made a significant difference. I’m fine with people disagreeing, but to argue that Edu has some how transformed this team since being on it is laughable to me. Yes he had skills key he had skills. He may be able to work to get back to that point, but to me I look at him and say, meh. We could pay a lot less for the same thing.

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      +1

  7. soccerdad says:

    nice article and great last line! so true…

  8. sell ’em

  9. Dr. Union says:

    Sell him trade him whatever, but he isn’t needed on this team and his cap space can give us so much more. I think we could get say a LB, a striker, and a backup for Nogs. He isn’t worth the money to put on the bench and he isn’t good enough to break apart the lineup and chemistry this team has had. I say it looks pretty clear you let him go while people still think he has value because in a year or 2 no one will pay or want him and they’ll say he is to old.

  10. Jim Presti says:

    Nando is back in Philly… I’m waiting…

  11. Hmmm what to do with Edu? I think a big part is how much free money mr. Stewart has to use. I pray that ownership opens the dusty vault for needed upgrades at left back (must need) and stiker (I like Herbers but more competition in this case would be nice). If we are still keeping the purse closed, then maybe mr. Stewart could work some trade magic. My gut tells me that Edu will do whatever he can for the U; he gets paid enough, has already spent the bad years here, and already played out of his preferred position for the majority of his time in philly. I like the idea of rotating him between the 6/8…it would be magic if he could gel with Nogs, but that has yet to come close.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Ownership can open every dusty vault in the world; the salary cap governs..
      .
      Bill Gates could own this team, but the cap limit would still govern.

      • msg24365 says:

        The cap limit does not apply to DP’s. They could, in fact, open the dusty vault and pay millions to player if they elected to do so.
        —-
        Free up that roster slot and bring in a healed Aron Johannsson…. Didn’t he play for some club in Holland ….. Didn’t our sporting director hold some position for some team in Holland……

      • The Little Fish says:

        LIKE!

        Can you imagine adding Aron Johannsson. Holy crap that we be dynamite! Union would potent as hell! Do it. Do it now!

      • DPs still count against the cap, just not their full value. For a rich team it makes sense to have really expensive DPs because once you are over the DP threshold it’s doesn’t matter by how much. That said, we have bought down a lot of salaries using TAM/AM so who knows what our cap situation is really like.

  12. We got to talk with Mo at the Link on the Pitch event. It was nothing earth shattering..but he was very matter of fact about really needing to get back to playing with the team. Said he was progressing well and was really excited about how the team was playing. He engaged us and asked about where we sat and how long we have coming to see the Union. I know this has nothing to do with his abilities but he needs to play when healthy. He is going to help the team. He has the right mentality. He is also a great ambassador for the club.

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