CHESTER, Pa. – John Hackworth is working under the assumption that the Philadelphia Union will be losing Maurice Edu for at least a couple of games.
During his weekly press conference Wednesday, the Union manager said that he has had “positive conversations” with US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann about Edu and that Klinsmann’s perception of the Union midfielder is a very good one heading into next month’s World Cup.
“If there are soccer people out there, in particular Jurgen and his staff, I think they’re pleased with the way Mo is playing,” Hackworth said. “I think they’re pleased with the way we are playing, because it bodes well for a player that comes from this level and goes into the national team, that the skill sets they are bringing are important.
"I think that there’s a very positive feeling about what Mo has done so far this year and what he’s capable of doing for the national team.”
As to whether he thinks Edu makes Klinsmann’s 30-man preliminary roster – which is expected to be announced Monday – or makes the plane to Brazil for the World Cup, Hackworth said “that’s not really a question for me to answer.”
But the Union manager – who was an assistant coach on the USMNT leading up to the 2010 World Cup – has said in the past that he believes Edu has played well enough since returning to MLS to make his second straight World Cup.
Although the Union (1-4-5) have been struggling, Edu has been a stalwart in the center of the pitch for Philly, playing every minute while being called upon to fill a variety of different roles in the midfield. The former MLS Rookie of the Year is even tied for the team lead in goals with two.
“He’s been very good for us as a box-to-box midfielder,” Hackworth said. “He’s filled in as a defensive midfielder. We put him at different positions in Seattle [last Saturday], and he did very well kind of on the left side of the field. Having that type of player within our team has been a positive for us. We just have to translate all those positives into results.”
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If Edu is named to Klinsmann's 30-man preliminary roster for the World Cup, Hackworth is unsure when his star player would leave for the pre-World Cup camp in Palo Alto, Calif., and whether he would be available for the Union’s game against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, May 14.
“I want to give Maurice the best chance to make the World Cup team, and our staff and our team has prepared that we were going to lose him at some point,” Hackworth said. “So it’s a little bit of a balance because we have that midweek game on the 14th.
"I’m sure that’s something that, if that call comes, I can have a conversation with Jurgen and work something out that is good for both parties.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.