One of Maurice Edu’s major reasons for returning to MLS was to get back into the US national team picture.
Now that the Philadelphia Union midfielder has been called up for Wednesday’s game against Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium (11 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas), he has a new goal: Earn a spot on the plane to Brazil.
Does he think he has enough time to impress US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and make the World Cup roster this summer?
“I do,” Edu told reporters following Saturday’s Union game at PPL Park. “I’m a confident player and a confident person. It’s one thing to say it but another to go out and do it. I’m going into camp with the same focus I’ve had here. I’m feeling good, feeling confident about my play and I’m looking to go back up and enjoy it again.”
Edu learned of the call-up exactly a year after making his last appearance with the national team – when he helped the US earn a draw with Mexico at Estadio Azeteca during World Cup qualifying.
From there, Edu fell out of favor with Klinsmann as he struggled to earn playing time with Stoke City – leading to his move back to MLS, where the Union happily made him a Designated Player.
And so far it’s been a good fit for Edu, who’s played every minute through Philly’s four games, covering a lot of ground in the midfield and generating some solid scoring chances.
“My plan was to come here and work hard and, first and foremost, help the Union start off on the right foot,” he said. “I’ve always felt confident that if I was playing well, the opportunity would come up. It’s a credit to my teammates here, the staff and the club. They’ve helped me get back to my best and now it’s up to me what happens.”
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While Edu played in the last World Cup and has earned over 40 caps with the national team since 2007, it will still be an uphill climb to get to Brazil this summer.
But even if Wednesday’s game turns out to be his last appearance with the US national team this year, he’ll still be eager to return to Philly and continue resurrecting his club career with the Union.
“It’s nice to be a part of a team where you’re respected, where guys can depend on you and where when the chips are down, guys can look to you to lift them a little bit,” Edu said. “It’s a good feeling and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.