Change of scenery has Edu back in the USMNT mix

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

MIAMI — When Maurice Edu switched addresses from Stoke City to Bursaspor last month, the hope was that he would find consistent playing time after failing to do so with the Potters.

In his first few weeks with the Turkish club, Edu has gotten just what he asked for and more.

Since joining Bursaspor on loan through the rest of the season, Edu has been busy seeing the type of minutes that were nonexistent at Stoke. In fact, the veteran midfielder has been so occupied with league and cup games that he has not had a chance to experience and enjoy all of what Turkey has to offer.

That is a welcomed problem.

“You definitely feel sharper,” Edu told SBI of playing consistently again. “You can train as much as you want and do as much as you want in training and feel as sharp as you can be, whether it’s scrimmages or small games. But you can never really replicate a game unless you play a game.

“To be involved in a situation where things are at stake, whether it’s a cup tie, or (league) points that can move you up or down the table, that’s when you really get tested and really see where you are as a player. It’s been good to be tested week in and week out and just to get back to playing soccer again.”

That is putting it lightly. Edu made his debut for Bursaspor by coming off the bench and playing 25 minutes in a league game against Kayserispor on Jan. 19. Since that 2-1 win, the 26-year-old Edu has racked up 360 minutes as a starter in four matches that have come a frenzied pace.

While some players would admit to feeling fatigued after playing so much in such a brief period of time, Edu is showing no signs of someone burdened by the heavy workload. Instead, he has joined the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of their World Cup qualifier on Wednesday versus Honduras looking more fit and ready than he has in months and that has given coach Jurgen Klinsmann another viable option to potentially start against Los Catrachos.

“It is important that he gets games in, that he’s in a rhythm, that he’s getting sharper and that also gives him more confidence,” said Klinsmann. “We are pleased that he did that move.

“It’s a difficult environment. If you’ve ever been to Turkey and I played games there in European leagues, it’s a very hard environment. It’s not easy, but we are pleased that he’s coming back here now knowing, ‘I’m playing, I’m ready again.’ It gives us coaches another important option, he’s always been an important player to us, and it’s good to see that.”

Edu admittedly has not yet really been exposed to how wild and critical Turkish supporters and media can be, as he has been too busy preparing for and playing in games. What he has noticed is that the Super Lig, a league that is often overlooked by many in the U.S. and around the world, is full of quality and aesthetically-pleasing soccer.

“It’s not so much direct sometimes,” said Edu of the style in Turkey. “They really want to play and pass and keep it on the ground and our team, we try to play, which is good. I like that. So far, the standard is pretty good.

“You’ve seen some of the teams that we’ve played against signing big-name players. We played against Fenerbahce, they have guys like (Raul) Meireles and (Dirk) Kuyt, who was just at Liverpool, then you see Galatasaray signing (Wesley) Sneijder and (Didier) Drogba. There’s some very good players in the league, even some of the smaller teams have some big players that might not be as well known around the world but still very technically-gifted and creative.”

With a steady dose of playing time now under his belt, Edu is hoping to convince Klinsmann that he is ready for his first start in a U.S. jersey since last August’s memorable 1-0 road win against Mexico (Edu played at centerback in that game).

Should he get the nod over Danny Williams in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday afternoon, Edu would be tasked with serving as a blanket in front of the back four and would have to go up against the likes of Roger Espinoza and Oscar Boniek Garcia. That is no easy task, especially when considering how the raucous home crowd will fuel the Honduran players.

Edu, however, was in similar situations during the last World Cup cycle and he is eager to show Klinsmann that his experience in these type of games combined with his newfound playing time make him the best man for the job on Wednesday as the Americans begin the final phase of qualifying.

“This is what it’s all about,” said Edu. “You play the friendly games against these big teams, you go into Russia, you go into Italy, and in the back of your mind you’re doing that because you want to be prepared for qualifying and, touch wood, it all goes well and eventually the World Cup.

“You want to be able to go into every game feeling confident. When you go to places like Italy and get wins there and you go to Russia, which was on a good run of games, and pick up a draw there, it should give you confidence that you can play against any team and do well.”

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Change of scenery has Edu back in the USMNT mix

  1. Kevin_Amold says:

    Glad he’s getting some playing time, not sure I want him starting tomorrow.

    • DanO says:

      I agree. Would love to see Jones deep and Bradley/Kljestan playing slightly more advanced.

      • Felix says:

        If we are going to play with two CMs, I’d prefer it to be Edu over Williams or Jones at this point, just on form. Williams has been benched at Hoffenheim and Jones just came back from suspension, so you could easily argued that Edu is in the best form.
        Now if you want to see someone like Kljestan, Torres or someone else more offensive in the midfield, that’s a different argument.
        But if you are looking for some ‘steel’ in the midfield to protect our back 4 in this tough away qualifier, I’d go with the Bradley/Edu partnership.

    • Austin R says:

      Agreed. Great for depth though, I’d probably pick Edu over Williams honestly, but I don’t see him starting.

    • James says:

      Watching Edu dribble with a soccer ball under pressure is like watching a deer trying to ice skate

      • ronniet says:

        don’t judge a game he played in which right now seems like eons ago!!!!! He’s has gotten better and smoother since his move to stoke and it has continued with his loan to turkey. His appearance against russia showed just how much better he’s gotten even with his one appearance for the Stoke. I believe he set up a goal against russia and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout. I’ve seen some of his matches over in turkey and he confirmed my comments with his play there the 360 minutes he’s put in!

    • Hogatroge says:

      Edu is at present the best combination of form and not getting a YC that will suspend him for the Costa Rica match.

  2. 23716 says:

    Why did he sign for Stoke in the first place? He had offers from clubs in France/Turkey. Legitimate mid table clubs where he could be a starter. Stoke is so deep with midfielders he never even sees the bench

    • patrick says:

      there’s more to it than being a shoe in as a starter. Maybe he didn’t want to live in turkey, and worry about the language (he’s only ever played in english speaking countries) maybe he wanted to test himself in the EPL, maybe the money was better, and maybe he thought he was better than the other options at Stoke. As evidenced in a piece about Bedoya, there are 1000 moving pieces when making a decision like this.

    • Mike says:

      Maybe he thought, “When do I start making my monies?” – I gotta think his wages at stoke would certainly be better than a mid table French club …. im not sure how the pay in Turkey is but not everyone is excited by the idea of living in Turkey.

      • Felix says:

        Also, the situation he was in at Rangers wasn’t optimal, and he might have been in a mad dash to get out of “Dodge”, which doesn’t exactly give him the best leverage in negotiations.

    • GW says:

      23716,

      Stoke may have offered more money. If not chances are Stoke will pay you on time. Who knows about the other countries.

      Scotland to England is not a great culture shock. Scotland to France/Turkey is. Mo is trying to win a spot on the World Cup team. He doesn’t need the added distraction of adapting to a completely new culture.

      You have the advantage of perfect hindsight. Or maybe you are just smarter than Mo. In any case, I’m sure Mo felt he was good enough to win a spot. And he still might when the loan is done. It’s not always about talent.

  3. dan says:

    Why isn’t anyone talking about how disgraceful it is yet again that US away games are not being televised to a broad audience? I don’t know a single person with BeIN. Shouldn’t we want to be giving US soccer as broad as exposure as possible?

    • DanO says:

      When I moved, one of the pleasant bonuses was getting Xfinity.

      Now you know someone with BeIN.

    • Hugh says:

      It’s a complicated answer, but it involves them having money and offering more of it to own the rights.

    • patrick says:

      becasue this story is as old as US Soccer qualifying. Look, the reality is that the US channels had the option of stepping up and paying for the game, but they didn’t see it as economically viable. As much as I want US soccer to grow and have a larger audience, it’s not ESPN, or Foxsoccer or NBC’s job to do it.

    • elgringorico says:

      Last I checked, EVERYONE is talking about it. The channel costs $10 and it comes with other soccer channels, at least where I live. Suck it up.

    • Dan says:

      All you need is DirecTV to get the game. If you subscribe to their sports pack for Fox Soccer, you already get the channel.

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Hey but ESPN has picked up the Mexico games now! (I guess if there is a potential for financial gain that is all that matters.)

    • Jody says:

      Comcast carries it, but, sadly, not in HD.

    • Luetchy says:

      Head for a bar with DirecTV. The only soccer pub here closed last year, but I know Buffalo Wild Wings and the local Mexican joint have beIN.

    • Gary Page says:

      If you have Direct TV and their Sports Pack, you get BeIn. Direct used to carry Gol, but replaced it with BeIn and their Pack includes Fox Soccer. You can always try some internet connections which can sometimes be problematic.

    • kkicks20 says:

      It was my impression that Honduras, as the home team, has the rights to broadcast this game on whatever channel they choose. Which is unfortunate for me since I can’t afford the more expensive package, is on beIN Sports. But it also doesn’t matter in the long run because the game is being broadcast while I’m at work. Still going to support from wherever I am, though!

      • HoboMike says:

        This is correct. The Honduran federation (and all other federations, for that matter) has no duty to sell the game to ESPN/Fox. They can do whatever they please…and they did.

  4. 2tone says:

    I have a feeling he will be starting tomorrow, and I have no problems with that. He is more match sharp and more experienced than Williams.

  5. Courey says:

    On the BEIN theme, I know the Buffalo Wild Wings carry BEIN, and at 3 central, the place shouldn’t be packed.

    Concerning Edu, his experience and the fact that he’s had this recent run of form is nothing but good for US prospects tomorrow.

  6. Ross says:

    It’s a pretty easy assumption that England pays a lot more then Turkey. When 1 injury can kill your career- you go for the money. I think Edu will start tomorrow. Klinsman wants a 6 and Klinsma has stated over and over that Jones and Bradley aren’t 6’s.
    I’m sure that U.S. Soccer isn’t happy about the game being on Bein, I have it though, but there isn’t anything they can do about it.

  7. Marco says:

    I’m not the biggest Edu fan, but he’s our best option DM with the amount of time Williams and Jones have played recently. Based on form and Klinsi’s tendencies, I think tomorrow might start like this:

    — Gomez —- Altidore ————–
    ———— Dempsey —————–
    — Klijsten ———– Bradley ——-
    ————— Edu ———————
    Johnson–Boca–Cameron–Chandler
    ————– Howard ——————

    **Could see Torres getting the start over Klijsten, but hope not.

    • Hunt Daddy says:

      This is the most rational looking line-up I’ve seen yet this week. If history serves as an indicator, in a road match in CONCACAF Klinsmann just wants a CDM who is going to protect the defense and break up the play. I thought Edu did an excellent job of that last year at GUA. His passing wasn’t the best in that match, but distrubition wasn’t his job. Anyone expecting him to be pinging balls all over the field on a dime is delusional. It looks like the move to Turkey has already revitalized Mo’s club career, let’s hope it does the same for country.

  8. Megatron says:

    I can see us having a rough game tomorrow.

  9. BUD says:

    Anyone know what position/formation he is playing in Turkey?

  10. slimkid32 says:

    Mo’s move to Bursapor seems to be paying off and I think frankly has earned him a spot in the starting XI. The move should be good for him on many levels. Obviously it is great because he is getting a lot of match time but also it will allow his game to grow. Sometimes people talk as if his time has passed because he has been around a while, but he is only 26 years old and still has time to advance his game. It kinda seemed like his game had progressed as far as it would playing with the less than progressive Rangers and even to some extent, Stoke. I have always rooted for Mo and believe a move like this will help take his game to the next level.

  11. Pingback: Here is your US-Honduras pre-game primer « Over There