World Cup 2010

Maurice Edu returns to action

Edu (Reuters)

It's been a long time coming, but Maurice Edu's comeback took another step towards completion Monday. The 23-year-old midfielder, in the midst of a long recovery from a knee injury, returned to the pitch in a closed-door reserve match, going 80 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Partick Thistle.

Edu made it through the game unscathed and will likely be pushing for a regular place as he returns to fitness. Rangers encounters a tricky and congested part of the schedule over the holiday season, as the team has three games in a week starting next Sunday with an away trip to Hibernian, followed by a mid-week match-up against Dundee United. January 3 finishes off the busy schedule with an Old Firm clash against Celtic.

These next few months are crucial for Edu if he hopes to be a part of the 23-man roster for the World Cup. His return to fitness — assuming he can get minutes with Rangers — is a boost, but must stay healthy these next few months if he hopes to make it to South Africa.

What do you think of Edu's return? Glad to see him back in the mix? Will he recover in time to make the World Cup squad? Share your thoughts below.

  • Chris in Belfast

    The comments about it taking Ching being injured before Davies came into the team also fail to take into account the difference in play that the change inaugurated. Bob used Ching like Capello uses Heskey. Davies can’t be used like that, and Bob liked using Ching and playing the team like that. When Ching went down it meant he had to make a change, and bringing Davies in meant the team had to change the way it played.

    Sure, the change worked out great, but the reason Davies didn’t play much before Ching went down is because Davies can’t play like Ching. Of course, some people think that’s a good thing.


  • wilyboy

    Except Makelele could tackle high class opposition and not draw cards. Makelele was of the highest order of defensive midfielder. Clark makes rash challenges on talented opposition and, on average, pairs poorly with Bradley when it comes to actually playing good football. I was impressed by his inspired play against Spain, but then in every other match he’s been frustrating.


  • Josh D

    The fact you agree with the first post shows your inability to recognize Bradley’s overall job. At the very very least, don’t the friendlies and tournaments effect how we seed ourselves at the World Cup? Which directly affects our group positioning which affects how hard it is for us to get out of the group? And doesn’t hold true that a winning mentality brings a winning team? So don’t you want a coach who can win?

    And name me one South American who doesn’t care about every tournament they enter. They want to win, always and so should we!

    That’s not his job though! We enter many tournaments and play in many important games. His job is to develop a team 24/7 as well as pick a team to win a 90 minute game. A real coach prepares his team through friendlies, camps and constant contact throughout the season both with the player and his team.

    It’s not up to Bradley but as the head of state (so to speak) it’s his job to pay attention to them and ensure he meets them. They’re his future team (if he lasts long enough), why wouldn’t he try his best to make sure they’re the best for him? Does a Varsity coach not also pay attention to the JV, knowing full well in a year or two, it’ll be his squad?

    You must see the big picture. Not caring about anything else, save the World Cup is small minded compared to all the possibilities between. What’s the point of playing if it’s not to A. win or B. develop players to win?

    No coach with any nation would survive a period of time where all he did was lose – even if they were all friendlies (see the ex-South African coach).

    Aren’t qualifiers important? Lose them and you don’t even enter the World Cup! Big picture Flawedlogic. (fitting name by the way : ) )


  • Trilk

    Over the moon to see Maurice back on the pitch. I really hope he gets some time because I think he can really contribute in South Africa. Game-shape though is a long ways away I believe.


  • Dennis

    Excuse me! Adu has a soccer brain? Really? He is quick, can dribble and has a good shot, but he often choses poorly when to keep possession and when to dribble. Every player with an ounce of soccer sense knows that at least some of the time defending is important; Adu has not seemed to grasp that yet.
    E.J. has had a bad 4 years. All he ever did was score a lot of goals in qualifying for the 2006 W.C., since that time he spent a year injured and has never recovered the flashes he showed in 2005.


  • Dennis

    Glad we have options in midfield. Too bad we have fewer in the back line and about nothing up top. Injuries will happen, those are unpredictable and without multiple options, there will be disaster. Recall in 2002 Armas, who was an important force at defensive mid, was injured at the just before the W.C. and Mastroeni stepped up big time.
    Bradley has brought in many players. He might not always make the selections some would prefer, but by using a variety of players, he opens up choices going forward. So far the US has likely lost Onweyu and Davies for the W.C. (optimists notwithstanding), who else will go down? Even if you discount the “B” team games Bradley has used lineups that fail to include Donavon, Dempsey, Bradley, Clark, Feilhaber, Cherundalo, DeMerrit, Bocanegra, Howard, etc. at one time or another, sometimes for reason, sometimes not. It is important to see how missing various players affects the rest of the squad and that has been done.
    As for what B.B. has done, he coached the teams to wins in the Gold Cup when it mattered, led the effort to qualify first from CONCACAF, won games on european soil, defeated the #1 ranked team in the world in a game that mattered and led Brazil for a half, all with no players playing for the big teams (Man. U. Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Chelsea, Porto, Bayern, etc.
    Of course, he has failed to please everyone with his selections, but many of those left out are also being left out at their club team, even Torres, whom I like, is only recently a consistent starter and 90 minute player for Pachuca.


  • Flawedlogic

    Josh D,

    The name is in response to what I see as your flawed logic so, yes, it is fitting.

    You are mistaking Bradley for Gulati. Much of that “big picture” stuff is Gulati’s responsibility.

    Obviously, the qualifiers are part of the World Cup thing. I thought that went without saying. Bradley finished first in the group. Is that good enough?

    And as far my saying only World Cup matches matter granted that was a bit of an overstatement, but only a little. The formula, which was revamped in 2007, is a little Byzantine and I am not an expert but but basically when it comes to seeding for the World Cup there are 4 categories of games to consider for the US. In order of importance to the seedings they are:

    1. Friendlies 1

    2. World Cup qualifiers 2.5

    3. Confederations Cup 3.0

    4. World Cup matches 4.0

    They now only consider the last 4 years. The numbers after the categories reflect their relative importance in terms of how they are weighed in the equation.

    The US is not a dominant soccer power. None of their outfield players plays regularly for a top flight club. Compare that to the teams we have to face (Brazil, Spain, England, Italy, etc.) to win things and you will see the problem. By the way, national teams are restricted to players eligible for that country. What that means in English is the manager makes do with what is available. Left back is a problem? Bradley can’t buy Patrice Evra to play left back for the US. You may hate Bornstein but after a nearly 2 year search it should be obvious, even to you, that if there is a better US player for the job, it isn’t likely that he will be that much better. Unless, of course, Castillo, who just got eligible, is much better than the reports indicate.

    That does not mean the US can’t make a lot of noise in a given tournament but it should make people like you realize your expectations are a bit on the wildly unrealistic side.

    I’m sure Bradley and the USSF would love to put on a competitive showing in every tournament they enter but they are not good enough and deep enough. They have a comparatively thin player pool that is spread over two continents. Player availability is usually iffy and practie time is compressed. So, from what I can tell, they have decided to focus largely on the World Cup. Why? Follow the money. You may be a Copa America connoisseur (even if you can’t remember its name), but when you talk about advertising dollars, there is no comparison. But do well in the World Cup and the advertisers love you and may put money in the game. And the casual fan, who the USSF is trying to draw in, will pay more attention to the World Cup. I’ll bet you can’t name me the last 3 Copa America winners. On the other hand most fans can name the last three World Cup winners (Italy, Brazil, and France). If you are going to argue with me that other tournaments count as much, in terms of media profile and overall importance, as the World Cup, particularly with casual fans, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Bradley clearly sacrificed Copa America for the Gold Cup because the Gold Cup meant access to the Confederations Cup, the perfect prep tournament for the World Cup.

    So yes, Bradley is responsible for how the USMNT will do in the World Cup and Gulati does the “big picture” stuff.


  • Stephen

    You do know he filled in there during the Olympics right? It wouldn’t be a “new” position to him. Maybe not his best but he has played it before.


  • Stephen

    Torres has one disadvantage compared to the other 3…SIZE!!! He is a little smaller than Edu, Jones and Clark, but has made up for it with his ability to keep possession and alow the game down.


  • Stephen

    What about this line up…




    Holden Beasley


    Dempsey Altidore

    Rest of 23: Torres, Feilhaber, Jones, Bradley, Finley, Marshall, Spector, Castillo, Clark, Tracy, Guzan, Hannehman (sp?)


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