Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
The Edu experiment
by Paul Kennedy, August 8th, 2008 6:45AM



[MY VIEW] The U.S. performance in its 1-0 victory over Japan Thursday wasn't so convincing that one doesn't think Peter Nowak's boys will be hard-pressed to get a result when they return to action in Tianjin on Sunday against the European U-21 champion Netherlands, but a few players stood out against Japan.

In goal, EPL-bound Brad Guzan justified the interest Aston Villa has had in him, handling just about everything thrown at him. Except for a late cross he failed to reach in stoppage time, the former Chivas USA goalie handled the Japanese pressure, which consisted of occasional half-chances rather than constant threats.

Then there was Maurice Edu, moved to the middle of the backline alongside Michael Parkhurst in the absence of the injured Jonathan Spector. The experiment Coach Peter Nowak made last December when the Americans traveled to Guangzhou last December was replicated in Tianjin.

Like Guzan, Edu wasn't perfect. He almost gave away a penalty late in the game with the USA clinging to a 1-0 lead and he showed an occasional rashness that you don't want to see in your central defender, but he was otherwise effective against the darting Japanese, showing great anticipation, speed to cover lots of ground quickly and the touch to hold the ball or move it forward.

In the last year, the 22-year-old Edu has had a number of impressive outings with the senior national team as a holding midfielder -- indeed, it's hard to think of another player having made such a quick transition from college (three years at Maryland) to the national team since before the launch of MLS -- so his future would seem set there. But his spot in the middle of the defense could become permanent if he repeats his performance against Japan when the USA faces the Netherlands and Nigeria, two teams that will certainly test Edu's ability to hold down the fort.

While national team coach Bob Bradley has shown a penchant for flooding the middle of the field with holding midfielders, he has more options there at the moment than in the middle of the backline, where none of his current choices has the qualities Edu has. Both Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra are the current No. 1 choices, but neither exudes confidence. After them, none of the candidates at center back has stepped to challenge for a starting spot.

If successful, Nowak's China experiment with Edu on the backline could have dramatic implications for the senior national teams for years to come.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
USA-Costa Rica: Klinsmann sends Johnson packing    
The biggest loss in the tenure of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has not triggered any immediate ...
MLS Executive of the Year Manning joins TFC    
Bill Manning, the two-time Major League Soccer Executive of the Year, has been named president of ...
What They're Saying: Bill Manning    
"From an outsider's perspective -- and I remember telling this to the [MLSE] board -- for ...
Atlanta United joins Development Academy     
The youth program of Atlanta United, which begins MLS play in 2017, will join the U.S. ...
Video Pick: SKC's Nemeth scores twice in Euro qualifier    
After scoring MLS's Goal of The Week with a terrific solo strike against Portland, Sporting Kansas ...
U.S. Olympic hopefuls in must-win clash with Canada     
Having squandered a chance to clinch a berth at the 2016 Olympics when it fell, 2-0, ...
Crowd Count: Top 20 U.S. soccer crowds (2015)    
The crowd of 93,723 fans for the USA-Mexico game at the Rose Bowl was the largest ...
NASL: Minnesota joins Cosmos and Ottawa in playoffs    
Minnesota United FC clinched a playoff berth for the second straight year with a 2-1 win ...
TV Report: USA-Mexico averages 5.1 million on Univision    
The USA-Mexico match on Univision averaged 5.1 million viewers, the most on any network for a ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"I had a very severe word with Fabian Johnson and I sent him home today. The ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives