CHESTER, Pa. – Maurice Edu is tired of hearing how much fun it is to play at PPL Park.
The Philadelphia Union’s prized new acquisition is ready to experience it – an opportunity he’ll get Saturday when the Union host the New England Revolution (4 pm ET, MLS Live) in their 2014 home opener.
“I’ve seen some YouTube videos and I’ve gotten all the Tweets about the Doop song, so I’m excited,” Edu said. “I’m excited for my first game here. Hopefully we score a couple of goals and it’s a good experience for all of us.”
Edu came to PPL Park last year with Stoke City but didn’t get to play in the international friendly because of an injury. The Union lost that game 2-0, and although it was just an exhibition, it proved to be somewhat of a familiar theme for a club that went a less-than-satisfying 7-5-5 at PPL Park in league play.
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But with Edu and fellow newcomers Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira now in the fold – and with all three coming off impressive debuts in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Portland – Union manager John Hackworth is confident Philly’s home record will improve in 2014.
“We train the same way, our principles are the same and we appreciate the same kind of soccer,” Hackworth said. “This year we added some pieces and now we execute a little better and certainly we’ll try to play the same way at home. If anything, that left us vulnerable and we had results here that weren’t to our liking last year. And we’re going to try to rectify that this year.”
Since Edu wasn’t on the team last season, he didn’t seem particularly concerned about any home struggles in 2013. He also wasn’t overly worried about the Union’s late defensive lapse last week that allowed Portland to tie the game at the death, calling it a “minor thing.”
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Instead, the midfielder talked extensively about needing to have a mentality where teams like New England “hate coming” to PPL Park because “they’re scared to play us.”
“Obviously being at home, we want to do well in front of our fans and give them something to go home happy about,” Edu said. “In the same breath, we also know it’s important to establish this as a fortress where teams hate coming to Philly. We want teams to come here and be like, ‘I don’t want to go back there’
“And that starts on Saturday. It all starts on Saturday for us.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.