This week for our Philadelphia Union player analysis, we take an in-depth look at captain and designated player, Maurice Edu.
In his second season with the Union, Edu has once again proven himself as a leader and playmaker both defensively and in the transition offense. For Edu, consistency has been key. Unfortunately, Edu found himself sidelined for part of the season with an injury and compromised his consistency by making appearances while not one-hundred percent match fit.
Because of injuries, Edu only started in 22 games this season while notching a single goal (that number is down from last year where he played in 31 games and scored three goals) and it seemed as though the Union always seemed to suffer without him on the field. The role which Edu posed on the field and in the locker room was integral to the defensive operation as a whole.
As of now, Edu is one of the highest paid players on the Union squad and he is deserving as such. Though he isn’t in his preferred defensive midfield position, Edu showed growth and leadership in these past two seasons by filling in the centerback role. Whether it’s coming up big with a defensive stop or coming up field to support the counter, Edu always finds a way to make big plays.
During his stretch of time off due to injury, both Steven Vitoria and Ethan White had opportunities to start and contribute to the team. However, neither could be the powerhouse that Edu brought on the field each game.
Edu ended up playing in the Union’s championship game in the U.S. Open Cup not totally match fit – and it showed on the field as he wasn’t able to run full stride with the oncoming wave of Kansas City attackers – a healthy Edu could have been the difference.
So its safe to say that what this team needs is a healthy Maurice Edu – or at least more players like him. His veteran playmaking ability and aggressiveness on the ball was the key factor to the minor success the defense saw during the season. This former MLS rookie of the year, Scottish Premiere League Champion, and English Premiere League player still has a lot to offer this club for the future, but the only way that it will really count is if we can get more players like him to join the club.