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)

 

Best of NFL: Redskins notch 1st win vs. Giants; Cowboys rout Bears

Best of NFL: Redskins notch 1st win vs. Giants; Cowboys rout Bears

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.  -- Dustin Hopkins kicked a 37-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter for his fifth of the game and the Washington Redskins avoid a near-disastrous 0-3 start with a 29-27 win over the penalty- and error-prone New York Giants on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes of 44 yards to DeSean Jackson and 55 to Jamison Crowder as the banged-up Redskins (1-2) handed new coach Ben McAdoo his first loss with the Giants (2-1).

Su'a Cravens ended the Giants' final drive with an interception in New York territory. It was Eli Manning's second pick of the quarter, with the other coming in the end zone by Quinton Dunbar after New York got to the Redskins 15 on a big play by Odell Beckham Jr.

This was a wild NFC East matchup that see-sawed the entire second half after Washington rallied from a 21-9 deficit (see full recap).

Prescott, Cowboys rout Bears on SNF
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without injured quarterback Tony Romo over three seasons before the rookie fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia rookie Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals in NFL history.

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox (see full recap).

Vikings stop Newton, snap Panthers' home win streak
CHARLOTTE, N.C.  -- The Minnesota Vikings keep finding ways to overcome injuries --and keep finding ways to win football games.

Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a score and the Vikings snapped the Carolina Panthers' 14-game home winning streak 22-10 on Sunday.

The Vikings put the clamps on Cam Newton, intercepting the league's reigning MVP three times and getting eight sacks, one of those resulting in a safety by Danielle Hunter. The eight sacks were the second-most ever against Newton.

"We have a great team -- the best team I have been a part of," said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who had three sacks. "We come from every area on the field and we get sacks."

Said Newton: "They were dictating to us after they got the momentum."

The Vikings improved 3-0 despite losing running back Adrian Peterson and offensive tackle Matt Kalil to injuries last week. They lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason (see full recap).

Bills bounce back with win over Cardinals
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.  -- LeSean McCoy scored twice and safety Aaron Williams returned a botched field-goal snap 53 yards for a touchdown in leading the Buffalo Bills to a 33-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 20-yard run at a time the Rex Ryan-coached Bills spent the past week taking the brunt of criticism after opening the season 0-2.

The win also came on the heels of Ryan firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

McCoy scored on 24- and 5-yard runs, and finished with 110 yards rushing after combining for just 117 in his first two games. Taylor had 76 yards rushing, including a 49-yarder, the longest by a quarterback in team history (see full recap).

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Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

On his way to the locker room following his team's stunning 34-3 victory over the Steelers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacted, well, like you probably did.

Pederson had to be surprised by what had just transpired. After all, this wasn't the Browns or the Bears. This was the Steelers, who entered the game with the second-best odds behind New England, per Bovada, of winning the Super Bowl (the Patriots were first). 

And the Eagles didn't just beat them. They clobbered them.

But minutes later, when Pederson met the media for his postgame press conference, he tried his best to act like it was no big thing.

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief," Pederson said. "Belief in themselves. Trust the process. Believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. 

"Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet. The season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, Doug. It's OK to be surprised. Scratch that. Make that stunned. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But now? Forget that. 

At least for the next two weeks. The Eagles are on their bye week and don't play again until Oct. 9 at Detroit. 

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark," Pederson said. "That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach (Mike) Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. 

"But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”

Pederson is the only head coach in team history to win each of his first three games. It's only the ninth time the Eagles have started 3-0.

And of course, a big reason they've done so is their prodigy quarterback Carson Wentz, who became only the second rookie in team history to record a 300-yard passing game (Nick Foles is the other).

More impressively, Wentz now has attempted 102 straight passes without an interception, the longest streak ever begin an NFL career (per ESPN). Dallas'  Dak Prescott is at 99 after the Cowboys beat up the Bears.

But don't ask Pederson to admit he's amazed by Wentz or the fact he had the presence of mind to make plays like the riveting 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles (much more on that here).

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him," Pederson said. "We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”

As does the defense, which kept one of the league's most potent offenses out of the end zone

"They just weren’t going to be denied," Pederson said. "They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”