Mo Edu hasn’t featured for the Union since the 2015 season. Last year, he played some for Bethlehem Steel, then re-injured himself before a start with the Union. This year, Edu is set to return to the pitch. This poses the question, when Mo Edu returns what role will he play?
— Maurice Edu (@MauriceEdu) February 3, 2017
Once Edu was a staple for the Union’s midfield for a time. He was the Union’s ball winning D-mid who sat in front of the back four to help relive pressure on the back line. It was an interesting style the Union played back then. Edu was a six, but when he won the ball for the Union he looked to his counterpart Vincent Nogueira. Nogs was the eight but loved to be on the ball and distribute like a six. This sometimes pushed Edu forward almost like the way and eight was supposed to play. When Edu comes back will he return to this role?
Possibly, it depends on how the Union do with Medunjanin at the holding midfield spot. Medunjanin is also too good to take off of the field. So Edu’s addition would mean that Medunjanin pushes into the eight role, and Bedoya to the 10. Thats a talented triangle in the middle of the field. It brings back a D-mid pairing reminiscent of the Edu-Nogs pairing, but Medunjanin is more attacking than Nogs which would favor the Union going forward! Edu as the six would create a strong midfield for the Union, but what if he returns to the center back spot.
Edu was once the best center back on the Union at one point. Even though he converted to center back out of team necessity not choice, Edu showed he was dominant at that position. Mo made the all-star game in 2014 as center back. He was a dominant figure from that back, leading the Union to their first ever championship in the 2014 US Open Cup final. Could Edu come back into the back line this season?
Onyewu will be the guy at center back during Yaro’s absence. But what happens if the journeyman doesn’t show well? If Edu is back to full health, and Onyewu doesn’t do well, then Edu could be the option at right center back. With Tribbett still showing a fatal flaw in his game, it is unlikely that the Union go with him, if they have a healthy Edu. The Edu-Marquez partnership brought consistency to a team that lacked it three years ago. It could do the same this season if things digress in the first few months of the season.
Could Mo be a permanent 18 player, but not a starter? If players already in shape are in good form, and the Union are doing well, then Edu could come back, and be an option off the bench. He’d be a good cover for centerback on the bench, and he could also come in to the match as a lethal midfielder. His prowess of getting forward from the midfield spot is a good asset off the bench. He has the ability to score and could do this for the Union in a late game opportunity. Maybe there could be a moment like this for the Union captain coming off the bench.
In whatever capacity Maurice Edu is used when he’s back to full strength, the Union will benefit. Edu’s long road back to the Union isn’t over yet. When it ends the team will gain a captain, and someone can influence a game in a positive way. Whether it be playing the midfield, back line or coming off the bench, the Union will be a better team when Edu finds his way back.
Come back to Philly Sports Network tomorrow for more on how we will cover the Union this season, if the Union could actually win a championship and on the return of MLS. Until then, peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports