Life on the Wall | MLS Insider Presented by adidas

CHESTER, Pa. – Maurice Edu has played in the World Cup, the English Premier League, the Champions League and the Old Firm Celtic-Rangers rivalry. But when asked where scoring a goal in last year’s US Open Cup final at PPL Park ranks for him, the Philadelphia Union captain puts it right near the top.


“I’ve had some pretty cool moments and moments that I’ll never forget,” Edu told MLSsoccer.com following Wednesday’s training session. “But I think that one was up there because Cup competitions are special.”


It’s been with that goal in mind that Edu has worked tirelessly to rehab from the partially torn left groin that’s held him out of the last six league contests.



And although he’s still feeling some pain from the injury, Edu returned to training this week with his eye on getting back to full fitness for the 2015 US Open Cup final against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 30. It's the second straight year the Union have hosted the final of the historic tourney. (They lost in extra time to the Seattle Sounders last year, despite Edu putting them ahead with a first-half goal).


“Obviously losing the Cup final here last year, that sucked, and we’ve done an unbelievable job to get back in the same position to host it again this year,” Edu said. “Of course, I want to be out there, I want to be out there helping the team... [Winning] the first trophy in club history, that’s motivation enough for me to fight through whatever injury I have and play through whatever pain threshold there is to try to be a part of it. “


Initially, the hope was that Edu would be able to return for Sunday’s home game against the Houston Dynamo (7 pm ET, FS1) and then get rested for next Saturday’s game in New England, which is four days before the USOC final.


But Edu said he’s questionable for this weekend’s contest, noting that he’s trying to be “smart and cautious” in training this week. And if he can’t go, Union head coach Jim Curtin said he’ll probably want to get his captain into the game vs. the Revs, even though it’s so close to the Open Cup game and is on turf.


“I don’t think that’s a good way to handle it – not fair to Mo, not fair to the team – to throw him in just to the Open Cup,” Curtin said. “So if it’s a situation where maybe he’s not ready for Houston, we’d like to at least give him live minutes in the New England game and then we’ll kind of step back and evaluate it from there. It’s not ideal. We wish Mo was just kind of flying right now and in as good of form as he was early in the season and it was just seamless. But injuries are part of the game. He’s been our top player this year and it’s important that we get him back on the field.”



Having Edu play either of the next two league games are also important for the Union’s remote playoff hopes, which they haven’t given up on quite yet. But at this point, they’re making no secret that winning the US Open Cup is their top priority.


And they know the best way to do that is to start their captain, who’s eager to double down on his “special moment” in last year’s Open Cup final.


“I wish it would’ve been the game-winner or in a victory, as opposed to a loss,” Edu said of last year’s title-game goal. “Hopefully I can play in this game and maybe score another on and it’ll be in a victory.”


Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.