Matt Rhule had his players thank the fans who stayed to watch Louisville blow out Temple

Matt Rhule had his players thank the fans who stayed to watch Louisville blow out Temple

For how often local fans refer to Philadelphia as the best sports city in the world, and for a university that has over 100,000 alumni living in the area, you'd think there would be at least a mild curiosity about seeing Teddy Bridgewater play in person.

On Saturday, Bridgewater, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, arrived with the No. 7 team in the country, and the Louisville Cardinals only outdrew FCS Fordham three weeks earlier by 1,662 warm bodies.

The lesson here is that Elvis could quarterback the No. 1 team in the country against Temple and the exact same 20,000 people would be there to watch.

Many of the 21,709 who did show up left long before the whistle sounded on Temple's 30-7 loss Saturday.

That's why first-year head coach Matt Rhule had his players go out and thank the fans who stayed until the end. Bear in mind, Temple didn't score its lone touchdown until there were just 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Owls are now also 0-5 for the first time since 2007.

Rhule after the game:

As they walked off the field after listening to the bank, I sent back out to thank all those students who stayed until the end of the game. We love all the students, but the ones who stayed until the end of the game, I wanted to make sure our players recognized them, and recognized the fact that they didn't leave, that they sat there and they supported them and they cheered for them all the way until the end of the game.

I wanted to thank those fans, because that's the team we're going to be some day. That's what I told our team. That Louisville team, that's the team we're going to be some day. Teddy Bridgewater, he was a freshman quarterback at one point. And [freshman quarterback P.J. Walker] that's the steps that he has to take. One the last three drives ... there were 10 freshmen and sophomores out there playing defense. You guys know me, that's not an excuse, but that is the positive, and that's why we wanted to go back and thank those guys.

The second half showed our team what it's going to be some day. I wanted it to be now. It's not now. It's where we're headed.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.