Ever since the 2010 World Cup ended, all Maurice Edu has wanted is to play in another one.
Naturally, then, the past week has been a difficult one for Edu, who last Thursday was cut from the US national team’s preliminary 30-man World Cup roster and, barring an injury, will not be traveling to Brazil.
“Obviously it’s an emotional time,” Edu said by phone from Los Angeles on Thursday. “My goal for this year was to go to the World Cup. For that not to happen, obviously it sucks.”
Like Landon Donovan and Clarence Goodson, Edu thought he played well enough at camp to warrant a place on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster and that his experience and versatility would be valued commodities in Brazil.
But Klinsmann saw it differently.
“I was surprised,” said Edu, who started two games at the 2010 World Cup. “I thought I had done enough leading up to that point, and in camp as well, to be a part of that team. But this is soccer. Decisions have to be made. And unfortunately, the call didn’t go my way this time.”
While disappointed, Edu didn’t express any bitterness. Instead, the 28-year-old midfielder made sure to say how important it is “not to take any credit away from the guys that are going” and to throw his full support behind the US team as they make their final preparations for Brazil.
And even though part of the reason he returned to MLS was to better position himself to play in the World Cup, he said that his omission from the US team won’t change his mentality or focus for the rest of the Union’s season.
“Now that I’m back with Philly, I look around this locker room and I have a lot of guys that believe in me and really respect me as a person and as a player,” Edu said. “Dwelling on this situation, regardless of how hard it hit me, would be a disservice to my teammates. It would be unfair for me to be on the pitch and not be in the right frame of mind. So I need to just make sure that I’m focused again.”
Edu’s first game back with the Union following his time in national team camp didn’t go quite as planned. Despite scoring the team’s only goal – on a penalty kick – and playing in front of many family and friends in his home state, Edu couldn’t help the Union avoid an ugly 4-1 loss to fellow World Cup snub Donovan and the LA Galaxy.
Now, with two more games before the World Cup break, including another West Coast game against Chivas USA on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), Edu is eager to help the reeling Union climb back up the standings.
“All it takes is one goal, one win, and you can really turn things around,” he said. “That’s what our aim is this weekend against Chivas – to make sure we’re solid in the back and to hopefully come out of the game with a positive result heading back to Philadelphia.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.