Extra Time: Le Toux Returns, Adu Plays Angry, Where the Union Sit in the Power Rankings and More

Extra Time: Le Toux Returns, Adu Plays Angry, Where the Union Sit in the Power Rankings and More

It's been a tough week or so for local soccer fans. The Union dropped a punchless 1-0 game  in Chicago on Saturday night. The loss dropped the Union to 0-3 with a -4 goal differential. The Union and Toronto FC are the only teams in MLS yet to earn a single point.

Not so coincidentally, TFC are the lone team keeping the Union from the bottom of Avi Creditor's SI.com MLS Power Rankings.

Things don't get any easier this week as Sebastien Le Toux returns to PPL Park for the first time as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Le Toux scored in his Whitecaps debut and has helped to lead Vancouver to an early 2-0-1 start. Unsurprisingly, Le Toux has played every minute so far this season. ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle previews Le Toux's return.

In somewhat brighter Union news the club announced that they'll face Aston Villa in a freindly at PPL Park on July 18th. Fellow Tottenham Hotspurs fans, the Lillywhites will play New York Red Bulls at Redbull Arena on July 31st

El Salvador rubbed even more salt into local fans wounds by eliminating the US U-23 team from Olympic qualification in heartbreaking fashion - scoring a goal in the final minute of added time. In light of another letdown on the international stage Ives Galarcep has an interesting take on the larger issues plaguing US Soccer.

One potential positive thing to emerge from the US U-23's? The play of Freddy Adu. Jonathan Tannenwald of The Goalkeeper blog suggests that Adu needs to bring that passion and fire back with him to MLS.

Another positive? The Union will not have to worry about losing Adu, Amobi Okugo, or Sheanon Williams to the Olympics over the summer (not that Okugo ever really sees the field).

Author Simon Kuper, who wrote the fantastic "Soccernomics", takes a closer look at the tactics and philosophy employed by Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. This is a must read for anyone who has ever marveled at how the Blaugrana play.

It certainly helps Guardiola that he has the greatest player in the world on his team. Fredorrarci from The Classical posted a fantastic piece on why Lionel Messi refuses to dive - and what it says about him and us.

MLS.com introduces a new feature whereby they'll examine and employ sabermetric analysis in evaluating team and player performance. The first post includes a brief teaser on the counterintuitive reality of possession statistics.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

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."

Eagles bring back Taylor Hart after stint with Chip Kelly

Eagles bring back Taylor Hart after stint with Chip Kelly

The Eagles have brought back a familiar face to take Ron Brooks' roster spot.

On Monday, the team claimed defensive tackle Taylor Hart off waivers from San Francisco. Hart was just waived on Saturday by the 49ers, who claimed him after the Eagles waived him at final cuts.

So, Hart is coming back to Philly after a stint with Chip Kelly in San Francisco.

Hart, 25, played in one game for the 49ers this year. The Eagles are light at defensive tackle thanks to Bennie Logan's groin injury. While head coach Doug Pederson on Monday said Logan was getting better, the Eagles still brought in more depth by claiming Hart.

While still with the Eagles, Kelly had a hand in drafting Hart, an Oregon product, in the fifth round of 2014.

Hart worked hard this offseason to learn how to play in Jim Schwartz's aggressive 4-3 defense, which is very unlike the ones he had played in during college and in the NFL.

Brooks has been placed on IR after rupturing a quad tendon during Sunday's game against the Vikings. He'll have surgery this week.

In addition to adding Hart to the active roster, the Eagles also added cornerback Aaron Grymes to their practice squad.

Grymes, 25, was having an impressive training camp and preseason with the Eagles before injuring his right shoulder. He was waived shortly after that.

After coming out of the University of Idaho in 2013, Grymes didn't make an NFL team so he went to Canada. He ended up as a starter and All-Star on the Edmonton Eskimos and won a Grey Cup in 2015.

To make room for Grymes, the Eagles cut OL Matt Rotheram from the practice squad.