Photo: Courtesy of US Soccer
Maurice Edu has been very clear that part of his motivation in returning to MLS was to further his chances of being a part of the US squad at the World Cup in Brazil.
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Union midfielder received some affirmation for his move when it was announced that he had been called up for the US squad that will face Mexico in a friendly at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday, April 2 (11 pm: ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas).
“I’m very happy to be called back in to camp,” Edu said in a statement. “For different reasons, it has been a little while since I’ve been with the team. I’m excited to meet up with the group again and get back to wearing my country’s colors. The match itself will be a good one, as all the games against Mexico tend to be. I always enjoy playing them since they’re our biggest rival. This is a preparation for the summer, so it’s important that it’s approached with the right mentality.”
While acknowledging that the callup comes with a sense of urgency, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann said of Edu, “To come back on loan, get playing time and jump into the Union team, become a leader right away and help them get off on the right foot in MLS shows that he understands that the timing has to be there now if he wants to play. He could have sat there on the bench at Stoke maybe not playing much, and then there’s no chance for him to get on the World Cup roster. But he understood that, made the decision to come back and now he’s picking it up.”
Klinsmann added, “We’re looking forward to have Mo back with us because once he’s in a rhythm, once he is fit and really zoomed in, then he’s a very good player.”
After saying Edu has done “a fantastic job” since coming to Philadelphia, Union head coach John Hackworth continued, “We think he’s absolutely deserving of this opportunity to impress on the international level ahead of the FIFA World Cup and we wish him the best of luck next Wednesday against Mexico.”
Edu, amember of the US 2010 World Cup squad, last represented the US on March 26, 2013, playing the full 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in World Cup qualifying. It was his 45th national team cap. He is the third player to receive a callup to the senior US squad while a member of the Union.
Edu will leave for the pre-game training camp in Phoenix on Sunday following the Union’s match against Montreal Impact on Saturday (4 pm: MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick). He will rejoin the Union after the USA friendly ahead of the road game against Chicago on Saturday, April 5.
“I’ve been very focused since I joined the Union and I feel that has helped me start the season off well,” Edu said. “I’m going to take that same focus into camp and work hard. More than anything though, I’m going to just enjoy being back.”