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Union sign Edu as Designated Player on season-long loan

Maurice Edu

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Maurice Edu is finally a member of the Philadelphia Union.

The Union announced the completion of the long-awaited deal on Monday, signing Edu to a season-long loan with an option to buy. Edu joins the Union as their second Designated Player signing of the offseason. According to MLS, the Union signed Edu through the allocation process. The Union moved to the top spot in a trade with D.C. United before the MLS SuperDraft.

Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“As a U.S. international with experience playing against some of the best competition in the world, Maurice adds a wealth of knowledge, skill and leadership to our club while still being in his prime,” Union head coach John Hackworth said in a statement. “We think he will be an excellent addition to our squad and we are very excited to have him return to MLS and represent the Philadelphia Union.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder returns to the league after spending the last five and a half years in Europe. Following a year and a half with Toronto FC, Edu moved to Rangers FC in Scotland where he stayed until 2012, when the team was liquidated due to debt and eventually demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish soccer.

Edu moved to Stoke City in August 2012 but never broke into the lineup or even the game day squad. The 27-year-old made just one appearance for Stoke under Tony Pulis and has never been in the game day squad under current manager Mark Hughes. Edu spent a half-season on loan last spring with Bursaspor in Turkey, making 13 total appearances.

Edu is the latest American player to return back to MLS this winter in likely search of playing time ahead of this summer’s World Cup, following Michael Parkhurst, Michael Bradley, and even Clint Dempsey and Clarence Goodson from last summer. Edu most recently played with the USMNT in their scoreless draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca. However, with little playing time at Stoke, Edu wasn’t a part of either the rest of the World Cup qualification games or even the Gold Cup squad.

After a quiet offseason, the Union have recently sprang to life with a number of recent acquisitions. The Union took former UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake with the first overall selection at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and they signed Argentine winger Cristian Maidana as a Designated Player on Jan. 15.

MLS released a statement on their league-run website stating why Edu went through the allocation order despite being a Designated Player signing. Both the Dempsey and Bradley signings were exempt from the allocation process.

The MLS statement reads: “As with most aspects of the business, the league, in consultation with the clubs, reviews the roster rules on an annual basis and reserves the right to modify them prior to each season. The amendment to the assignment mechanism for Designated Players will be reflected in the 2014 roster rules that will be released prior to the start of the season.”


What do you think of this news? Where does the Union midfield stack up against the rest of MLS? Do you think Edu can earn a recall to the USMNT?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t think that he’ll go to Brasil, but…
    I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it. He has WC experience and can play CB, plus he has won a handful of championships. The spot might come down to either him or Beckerman.

    • That is an interesting choice. Beckerman is, I think, a step slow for WC play, but he is disciplined and plays the role of destroyer well. I think Edu is athletically better and can make better passes, and he does not usually play a purely defensive role. The USMNT has better options for either, it may come down to where JK thinks the team might need more cover. Worried about JJ getting cards maybe its Beckerman, worried about Bradley picking up a knock, then it is more likely Edu. If JK does not consider Cameron a starting back then he could play the sub for Jones as well as for the backs and Edu gets the call (or Torres or Mix or Sasha).

      • it will also depend upon whether Edu returns to form. He’s been injured and missing regular minutes for a very long time.

    • IMO there are only a handful of CM’s that have a shot of this year’s WC, in JK’s 4-2-3-1 formation (being the -2-) :
      Bradley, Jones, Cameron, Diskerud, Beckerman, Edu, D. Williams
      Currently Jones is a worry. If he doesn’t find a new home (Trasnfer or Loan) in short order he may not make the WC squad
      Cameron could either be the starting RB or CB. His versitility actually hurts him a bit here.
      Diskerud is the more creative choice, but still a worry against physical play. Good late sub when/if chasing a goal.
      Beckerman is a JK guy…..but does not have the speed of play or thought (IMO) to play against the teams we’ll face in the group stages (or beyond).
      Edu & D. Williams still have excellent chances to make the squad. Both are quick and physical enough to contend with Ghana & Germany. Both are versatile enough to play multiple possitions. Edu also has a lot of international experience and history playing with Bradley.
      IMHO if both Edu & D. Williams have a good spring I’d take either of them over Beckerman; and if Jones fails to find a team then both could end up making the trip.

      • Lost: you cite versatility as an asset for Edu and Williams but a liability for Cameron.

        Also, I’m surprised that you omitted Kljestan from your list. I think his chances are as good as any other sub’s.

      • KGE,

        Re your earlier post:

        Mo is a smart guy.

        He’s been out a long time and even at his best, he should know he will have a hard time beating out Williams, Beckerman, Mix, Benny, Sacha, Torres, a miracle return by Holden, etc., etc. for a very crowded US midfield.

        His chances of getting on the US WC team are better if he focuses on center back and he would have a few months of playing CB in Philly to get acclimated to it.

        Edu should make a fine center back. Guys like Vincent Kompany made the switch from defensive midfield. Kompany is obviously a superior player but the basic concept still holds.

        From Philly’s point of view it would mean they would not have to go out and get another player assuming they are comfortable with Mo, Okugo and Carroll holding down the center of the defense.

        From the USMNT’s point of view:

        Edu and Cameron did a great job in Mexico
        Mo is maybe as mobile as Cameron and Besler and certainly more mobile than Gonzo, Gooch or Goodson.
        Edu and Cameron or Besler also present a bit more of an offensive threat from the center back position. Gonzo is great at set pieces but Cameron and Edu are no slouches either.

        Right now his USMNT chances for Brazil are slim to none. Switch to center back, play there for a month or two, do well and his chances increase from no way to maybe.

        As for Philly, chances are it is harder and more expensive to find a good center back, which Edu can be, than to find a midfield destroyer.

        Of course this all assumes Mo is willing to go this route.

      • GW: sorry, I replied to bryan above before reading your comment. I can definitely see your point about Edu’s abilities—and maybe it’s just the fact that, like Cameron, he should be able to play either CB or CDM, so that gives a coach a lot of flexibility.

        I still look at the list you gave of CDMs and rather than seeing that as a reason Edu has no chance, I see it as an indication that Klinns hasn’t decided yet. I’d rather compete against 20 guys for a spot that is still open than compete against zero guys for a spot that is already closed.

        As I wrote above, surely this will largely depend on how Edu is played by Philly, whether as a CB or a CDM. The other consideration is what happens to Jones in the next few weeks—if Jones doesn’t find a place to land and play, then I’d say Edu alongside Bradley to start is not an impossible dream.

      • good assessment but you forgot Kjestan.

        re Cameron; a better way to say it is he will be selected but most likely for a different position.

        way i see it:
        1. Bradley – starter
        2. Jones – starter
        3. Sasha, Mix – holding/creative mid
        4. Edu, Williams, Beckerman – D-Mid

        pick one per category…

        Mo has made a smart deal here as he certainly can jump ahead or at least stay competitive with Beckerman and DWilliams with consistent PT in MLS.

    • Yup. Just Get Ride Of It!!!!!

      No one understands how it works or why it’s in place! The only thing it does it is keep American players abroad and occasionally put a mediocre player on the Revs.

  2. Seems like a good deal all around. I’ve always been impressed with Edu. He was a big part of the program at the last World Cup and was a regular for Rangers I believe. Still can’t figure why he couldn’t make the pitch at Stoke.

      • “EPL>SPL”

        Agreed, but…

        He played for one of the exceptions you mentioned. He got some Champions League matches. And more than that, he looked the part when competing for the USMNT.

      • Agreed. Also, the competition to get regular playing time at Rangers was no joke. They were buying up players left and right, it’s what drove them in to administration. IMO, Edu’s failure to get playing time at Stoke has more to do about Stoke’s continuously making bad player moves than anything about Edu. It seems that Stoke routinely buys players without having clear plans for them, and while the Americans are probably the most well known to us, this is something they do with British and other talents as well.

      • +1 and they do so with CM’s way too often.

        Back in 2012 most ppl would have taken Edu over Cameron but Gheoff took to a position with less depth. Good move by Mo

      • Stoke are not the only club that does this.

        EPL squads are fairly large and players getting lost on them is not uncommon.

      • Most analysts I have read and listened to equate pre-relegation Rangers and Celtic as equivalent to mid-table EPL. Don’t forget that Celtic beat Barcelona just last year.

      • It’s less his poor touch and more his poor passing vision and speed of distribution. He’s defensively sound but that doesn’t cut it in a good league. MLS is his level. He needs to be kept far away from the international setup.

      • his passing is fine, his touch is fine, his speed of distribution is fine imo

        he has not demonstrated an ability to create his own shot out of the lone striker formation for EPL club or country. I think that is both a fair and accurate statement

      • +1 a lead block has a softer first touch than edu and his passing and dribbling is poor as well. People seem to have forgotten this in his absense

      • I saw him play several years ago in the CL and he more than held his own, even against Man U at Old Trafford, back when Man U was a top club. He also did well at the last WC as well as during the qualifiers leading to it. don’t know what you are basing your evaluation on.

      • dont forget the 2010 world cup when he scored what should have been the winner against slovenia and was everyone’s (except BB) choice to start the ghana game over clark.

  3. If they sign Nogueira like is rumored and with the additions of Edu and Maidana, the latter is an unknown how he will fair in MLS, the Union will have built a fairly decent midfield. They could go with a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 but current captain Brian Carrol may not see the field as much depending on exactly how they try to play. If you bring Edu in to be a box-to-box midfielder then Carroll may not be needed. If Edu is to play on top of Brian with less defensive responsibilities and push Nogueira to LW with Maidana playing with Edu behind the forward line it could work but I am not sure that is the best formation. Ideally I would like to see a 3 man mid of Nogueira-Edu-Maidana or a 4 man mid with Maidana as a CAM and Le Toux as the RM. The 4 man midfield could allow JacMac and Casey to play up top. The key for the Union will be finding who is the CB to replace Parke.

    • The Union have not been playing so well that I would care whether Carroll plays much or not. He’s about to get shoved aside by Edu and others, and you can make a pretty reasonable argument the status quo ain’t getting it done.

      It reminds me of people defending Houston’s mediocre backline or Brian Ching the past few years. If the guys were so great they’d be internationals. We’d be winning titles. As long as the acquisitions make sense, I don’t care if my mediocre captain is headed benchward. Perhaps that’s where they belong.

      • Carroll was asked to do too much last year. He was often trying to cover for another player or players (see Danny Cruz and Keon Daniel) defensive lapses. While not a box-to-box player like Edu, Carroll is an above average MLS CDM in regards to his defense. I like him but I believe the team is better with Edu taking over his spot on the field. Best option would be to try and trade him somewhere else as his salary would be high for a bench player and trading him could either free up space to get a CB or possibly bring one back. Only time I would ever want to see Edu in at CB is an emergency such as no subs left and a CB gets injured or red carded.

    • Where did Parke go?

      Play Edu next to Okugo. That would give Philly one of the most mobile center back pairings around and it would give Carroll’s legs a rest.

      Cameron or Besler and Edu would give the USMNT a very mobile center back pair against speedy Ghanaians. That would be Mo’s best shot at Brazil.

      • because he has excelled at CB and because of formations. there is a great article on mlssoccer (Matt Doyle) that breaks it down. to sum it up quickly, a 4-2-3-1 isn’t ideal because Philly prefers using two strikers. that formation would have Edu paired up with Carroll. the next option is to replace Carroll in a 4-4-2, which is popular among Union fans. the final option is the 4-4-2 but with Edu at CB next to Okugo.

        basically, the article points out that Edu needs to be used at CDM or CB to truly get the best out of him. like what we saw his rookie year and in the 2008 Olympics.

      • bryan: sorry that I didn’t make my question more clear. I wasn’t asking about Philly. I was asking about the USMNT: why consider Edu alongside Besler/Cameron instead of as a backup for Jones? In other words, if Edu could only make one case for inclusion on the WC squad, should he argue for CB or CDM?

        Seems to me that the CB spots are pretty locked down—Besler, Omar, Cam, Goodson—but CDM (backup, that is) is still open—Beckerman, Kljestan, Mix, Cameron…and Edu.

        I suppose it may all depend on how Philly chooses to use him, since that is how he will make his case anyway.

      • ohhh ok. i agree, i think it’ll end up depending on how Philly use him. apparently Hackworth has already said he plans on using Edu in the midfield.

  4. wasn’t expecting it to be a loan, but it makes sense. also, even though MLS did own up to altering the rule, i still don’t understand the point of the rule change. i’d like to know, for example, where the line is drawn for when MLS helps on the transfer fee or not.

    • Edu is a MLS product without serious health concerns. The tentative nature of the deal (loan) is thus actually odd. It kind of sounds like it’s financially motivated — we can’t afford another fee — because on a sporting basis the transaction type doesn’t make sense. Making it a loan allows you to buy now at lower upfront cost and basically punt the purchase down the street a year.

      • My best guess is this is a loan because Stoke are kicking in some of the salary. I think Edu is reluctant to take the pay cut that would be needed for him to come back to MLS full time, and the thought is that after a solid year in MLS where he rebuilds his name with the Union and the USMNT, it’ll be an easier sell to convince the League that he is worth a wage closer to what he received from Stoke. If not, Edu will return to Stoke, having got playing time just when he needed it before the World Cup.

  5. Daniel, can you please dig into how ridiculous the allocation order/DP thing is. I know the rumor is because the league didn’t pay a transfer fee he had to go through the allocation order even as a DP, but MLS needs to be blasted for this. It has never been more obvious that they make up the rules as they go. Clearly, they just wanted Clint Dempsey in Seattle and Michael Bradley in Toronto.

    • Maybe it is not the league who wants the players there, but the teams that are the only ones that are able to splash the cash, but MLS desperately needs to get the rules straight.

    • Really don’t think that’s true. Toronto, based on all reports, CLEARLY offered Bradley the most money. Same with Dempsey to Seattle. I haven’t heard one owner of another team claim that they offered more money, but that MLS nixed it in favor of moving the players to a specific team.

      • great article on the whole Defoe and Bradley signings in The Star today. but it says another team offered the same but Bradley didn’t want to go there. SBI seemed to hint that SKC was a team who bid big for Bradley, so my guess is that was the other team.

        “As Bezbatchenko recalls it, Waxman said, ‘I brought up the possibility of coming back to MLS with (his client) Michael (Bradley) and he thought it would be a good time.’

        What had Bradley told you about going to Toronto FC? ‘Absolutely nothing,’ Waxman said. ‘This was completely my idea.’ Once he had Toronto on the line, he would convince the player of the move’s wisdom. Toronto had the money and — Waxman believed — the will to make Bradley their centerpiece.

        All the teams in the league were notified. A hasty bidding process came together. It got emotional. Leiweke recalled raging at MLS vice-president Todd Durbin during an hour-long call in the midst of the Leafs-Red Wings outdoor game. According to Waxman, only one other team was prepared to consider the $50 million it would take to get Bradley. Bradley wasn’t interested in going to that club, regardless of his wage.
        Despite the league’s reservations, Toronto had their window. One small problem — money.”

        the article is long and a great read though. one thing is for sure, this whole thing is prime for an MLS Insider episode.

      • But the question remains–why is that just because you are the only ones that could afford the money you don’t have to trade up in the allocation order?

  6. Can’t say the same for Dempsey and Bradley, but finally a move that most of us can agree on. From no playing time at all to starting every game and hitting June in 90 minute form, barring any injuries. Nice work Edu.

      • Bring back Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra, Charlie Davies, Maurice Edu, Jermain Jones, Michael Parkhurst, Clarence Goodson.

        Re-sign better deals for Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler.

        That’s one way to make the league better.

    • Well, Mo could have been playing 90 every week in a lot of places if he hadn’t decided to fight for a spot at Stoke, but at least he’s closer to Klinsmann’s eyes in the lead up to the WC.

    • According to another report I read, he had several offers including on from Nantes. l think it would have been good if he had been able to play with Bedoya. I think he should have gone to a European club where he could have gotten regular minutes. It’s a good get for MLS, but not the best for Edu or the national team, IMO.


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