Maurice Edu had been anxiously anticipating his call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for its match against Mexico Wednesday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Edu wasn't simply honored to travel there. He wanted to play.
Edu did play, coming in as a substitute in the 72nd minute in what wound up being a 2-2 draw. The U.S. held a 2-0 lead at halftime before settling for the draw in the friendly as the 2014 FIFA World Cup quickly approaches.
“I was excited about being back with the group because it has been a while,” said Edu, who last represented the U.S. on March 26, 2013, in a draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca during World Cup qualifying. “Our matches are always intense against Mexico and I knew it was going to be a good test to see where we stand. I think anytime your name is called for something like this, you accept it and look forward to it.”
Edu -- who joined the Philadelphia Union in the offseason – believes that this type of experience is always special.
“Absolutely,” Edu said, “because it makes you better in so many ways. You’re representing your country and that gives you pride. Then you take that experience back to your club and it’s all a big positive.”
Edu has played in more than 40 matches with the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2007.
He has played four matches with the Union and was undoubtedly the club's marquee addition in the offseason.
“I feel fortunate that I have a player like Mo on our roster,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “To be able to coach him is truly an honor. I think it’s a team effort. I’m very thankful that Mo is humble about the opportunity and really appreciates the fact that his teammates deserve a lot of credit for this opportunity. We always talk about if one guy in our locker room gets an accolade, recognition all a call-up, it means that there are so many guys behind him that supported him in that effort.
“I think that’s just very natural. It’s nice when a guy recognizes that and publicly acknowledges that.”
Before the match, Hackworth was hoping Edu would be called upon to play.
That question was answered later when Edu came on for Kyle Beckerman in the 72nd minute of the second half.
“That would be fantastic for Mo and we are extremely proud of him for being in that position," said Hackworth. "It would mean something to our club because it would signify the fact that we have players now that are getting those opportunities. To be the first one currently would be important...I was with Mo when he was playing on the National Team before and starting games. He’s already played in a World Cup. We have a player with a lot of experience and quality so our staff knows Mo very well. We have been fortunate to be around him in those exact environments. We have all the confidence that he is ready for it. I hope that his name will get called at some point. He will represent his country and that will be a good reflection on the Union.”
What did you think of Edu's re-introduction to the national spotlight? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org