CHESTER, Pa. – Since the start of April, Maurice Edu has scored goals in back-to-back games for the Philadelphia Union and made his return to the US national team after a one-year absence.
But he’s not happy. And he won’t be happy until his team starts winning games.
Heading into Wednesday night’s showdown with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena (7:30 pm ET, MLS Free Stream of the Week), Edu and the Union (1-1-4) have settled for draws in their last three contests and have not won since the second game of the season.
“I think we’re putting ourselves in good positions where we should win games,” Edu said. “Now it’s about going that extra step. Whatever it takes – fighting through whatever kind of situation we’re in, but making sure at the end of games we’re coming out with victories, as opposed to drawing games.”
The most frustrating part for the Union is that in all four of their draws, they surrendered goals in the final 10 minutes, including three gut-wrenching equalizers.
On the other hand, if not for Edu scoring game-tying goals in each of the past two games – his latest coming in the 90th minute in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake – the Union could be looking at a far worse record.
So even though Edu is not happy – “In an ideal world, I would rather have two wins as opposed to two goals,” he said – manager John Hackworth believes his star midfielder’s hot streak will soon carry over to the team's results.
“I’m always looking at it like the glass is half full,” Hackworth said. “I think that with the quality of our team this year, we’re built for being successful over the long haul. The mistakes we made early in the season are correctable. They are not as much technical or tactical mistakes as they are concentration and poor execution. We can solve those problems, and we can really improve.”
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But can Philly solve those problems at Red Bull Arena, where they sport an unsightly 0-5-1 all-time record in all competitions?
It will certainly be a difficult place for them to pick up their first win since March 15, but the Union are encouraged by the fact that they earned their first point at Red Bull Arena in their last trip there. They also know that Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana and the rest of the team’s impact newcomers do not have any personal experience with the team’s winless streak in New Jersey.
“We’ve had a couple of chances up there before where we felt we played well, but gave up goals late and lost all of the points,” Hackworth said, echoing a familiar theme. “Hopefully the group of guys returning to Red Bull Arena will feel like it’s not impossible to get a result up there.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.