How will Maurice Edu's national team call-up affect the Philadelphia Union season?

How will Maurice Edu's national team call-up affect the Philadelphia Union season?

Maurice Edu will get a chance to impress Wednesday against Mexico.

The newest Union fan.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know it's been a busy week for me.

And since I can't possibly show you all my wallet photos (do people still carry wallet photos?), I'm going to do the next best thing and post a totally, completely and utterly shameless photo of my 2-day-old daughter Sarah right here. Make fun. See if I care (I don't).

Anyway, I will admit to not being totally up on the Union latest this week, and won't be able to make Saturday's game against the Montreal Impact (4 p.m. -- 6ABC).

The one piece of news I did see, however, was that Union midfielder Maurice Edu was included on the U.S. roster for next Wednesday's friendly against Mexico (11 p.m. -- ESPN). He will join the team AFTER Saturday's game against Montreal. And since this just a lone friendly, he (theoretically) should be back for next weekend's game in Chicago. Although, if he plays 90 minutes Saturday, then plays at least a half for the stars and stripes, I'd have to think he might rest against the Fire.

What to remember about this news:

  • This game is not on an approved "FIFA Date," which means club teams are not "required" to allow players to leave. Now, of course the Union will let Edu go. But it means leagues worldwide are not taking the weekend off. So the team is made up entirely of MLS and Mexican league players.
  • That's the long way of saying that if Jurgen Klinsmann was picking his World Cup roster tomorrow, Edu would probably not be on it.
  • That doesn't mean he can't be, however. This is Edu's big chance to show Klinsmann that he would be an asset in Brazil this summer. I imagine he'll start, or at least play a half, against Mexico. It could be argued that he's the most interesting man on the roster for an otherwise meaningless game created just to sell a lot of tickets.

Edu's call-up this week doesn't really impact the Union. But a strong performance by Edu could make a major difference for the Union this season.

MLS is taking a break for the group stage of the World Cup, but the U.S. is slated to play three warm-up games on May 27, June 1 and June 7. Add about a week before that May 27 game for training, and Edu COULD leave the team after the May 17 game against New England. That would mean no Edu for three games: at the LA Galaxy, at Chivas USA and home to Vancouver. Should the Americans get out of the group stage, Edu could miss up to three more games (at New England, at FC Dallas and home vs. Colorado).

Now, this is all a big hypothetical, and I'd have to put Edu's chances on a World Cup spot at MAYBE 50/50 at best. But, it's definitely something to keep an eye on, and a reason to watch Wednesday's game against Mexico.

As for Saturday's game against Montreal: As I said, I've been a bit preoccupied this week, and can't pretend to know a ton about the Impact. So, I offered up my tickets on Twitter to whoever could offer the best prediction. My two favorites:

Our winner, Mr. McClure, even promised to run onto the pitch from my seats, guaranteeing that I'll lose my season tickets forever, and we'll have a great "idiot on the field" video post for the 700 Level on Saturday night (just kidding, Union security!).

As for my prediction? Let's say:

Union 2, Impact 0 (McInerney, Maidana)

 

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Chris Kunitz beat Craig Anderson 5:09 into the second overtime to give the defending champions a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night.

Kunitz scored twice, his first two of the playoffs. Justin Schultz added the other in his return from an upper-body injury, and Matt Murray stopped 28 shots on his 23rd birthday.

The Penguins are trying to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 to win back-to-back titles. They will host Western Conference champion Nashville in Game 1 on Monday night.

Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel scored for Ottawa. The Senators rallied twice to tie it, with Dzingel making it 2-2 with 5:19 left in regulation.

Craig Anderson made 39 saves, but couldn't get a handle on Kunitz's shot from just outside the left circle. The Senators are 0-6 in Game 7s in franchise history.

The Senators forced a return trip to Pittsburgh -- where they lost 7-0 loss in Game 5 on Sunday -- by leaning heavily on Anderson in a 2-1 Game 6 victory, putting both teams at odds with history.

Ottawa came in 0-for-25 years in winner-take-all games, while the Penguins were 0-7 in Game 7s at home in series in which they also dropped Game 6.

Ottawa coach Guy Boucher told his resilient team to not get caught up in the big picture but instead focus on the small ones, a recipe that carried the Senators throughout a bumpy transition under their first-year head coach to the brink of the franchise's second Cup appearance.

The Penguins, trying to become the first defending champion to return to the finals since Detroit in 2009, came in confident they would advance if they could replicate their dominant Game 6, when they were undone only by Anderson's brilliance.

Pittsburgh has been nearly unflappable in the face of adversity under Mike Sullivan, going 12-2 in playoff games following a loss over the last two springs. He encouraged his team to "just play," code for fighting through Ottawa's neutral zone-clogging style and the bumping, grabbing and pulling that comes along with it.

A chance to play for their sport's ultimate prize on the line, the sheets of open ice the Penguins found so easily in Games 4-6 closed up. For most of the first 30 minutes, loose pucks hopped over sticks to spoil some scoring opportunities while Anderson and Murray gobbled up the rest.

Kunitz, relegated to the fourth line since returning from injury in the second round, picked up his first postseason goal in a calendar year when he completed a two-on-one with Conor Sheary -- a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 -- by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

The momentum lasted all of 20 seconds. Ottawa responded immediately with Stone -- who stretched his left skate to stay onside -- fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Murray.

Pittsburgh kept coming. Schultz, returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury, zipped a shot from the point through Kunitz's screen and into the net with 8:16 left in the third.

Once again, the Penguins could not hold the lead. Dzingel set up at the right post and banged home a rebound off Erik Karlsson's shot that hit the left post and caromed off Murray's back right to Dzingel's stick.

Notes
The home team is 21-20 in overtime Game 7s in NHL playoff history. ... Pittsburgh F Patric Hornqvist skated during warmups, but was held out of the lineup for a sixth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Karlsson had 16 assists in the playoffs to set a team record. ... The Penguins are 10-7 in Game 7s. ... It was the fifth one-goal game of the series.

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).