Union finally get their man -- now, who is Maurice Edu, anyway?

Union finally get their man -- now, who is Maurice Edu, anyway?

Maurice Edu will be unveiled Tuesday as the newest member of the Philadelphia Union.

After weeks of rumor, vague "Internet reports" and a likely disagreement with Major League Soccer over money,  the Philadelphia Union finally got their man.

Yes, the team finally finished off the deal for 27-year-old midfielder Maurice (or "Mo") Edu on Monday, and marked it by unveiling a surprisingly awesome Twitter hashtag, #MOTownPhilly.  Edu will be unveiled today at 12:30 p.m. at the team's training facility in Wayne (it will be aired live online at this link). Expect him to hold up a jersey, wear a scarf, and everyone will look very excited.

In typical MLS fashion, the terms of the deal were not disclosed. But according to reports, the salary is far less than the $1.2 million that was initially rumored. And the deal is actually a one-year loan from Stoke City (England) with an option to buy at the end. If you're not versed in soccer player movement, loans are actually very common worldwide. MLS has historically stayed away from acquiring players on loan, unless there is an option to buy at the end of the deal.

In this case, it's a perfect deal for the Union. They get a solid player to anchor the midfield, and presumably, will buy him permanently at year's end. But should the move fail miserably (unlikely), or should Edu play well enough that he dreams of a return to Europe at year's end, the Union aren't weighed down by a long contract.

Combine this move with the signing of Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana, and what seems like a looming deal with French midfielder Vincent Nogeira, and the Union have drastically changed their midfield.

That's all great, but we know what you really want: To sound smart around your coworkers and friends when they ask "Did the Union just sign that Adu guy again? I thought he sucked?" So, a few things you should know about Maurice Edu:

  • At 27, Edu is by no means washed up. There was a time when he was a regular call-up to the United States men's national team. He's well off the radar for this year's World Cup squad, but could find his way back with a strong season.
  • Edu is pretty active on the Twitters (@MauriceEdu), and on Instagram, if you're into that sorta thing.
  • Edu is (technically) still property of Stoke City in England, but he was most recently on loan to Bursaspor of Turkey. He played 13 games at Bursaspor after barely getting a sniff at Stoke. His European career started strongly with storied Scottish side Rangers.
  • Edu has actually played at PPL Park before. He started and played one half for the U.S. in a completely forgettable 0-0 draw with Colombia in 2010 (I was there and am still waiting for a refund check).
  • Edu is primarily a holding (or defensive) midfielder. He has even played fullback at times, but expect him to play in his natural position for the Union. What that means for captain and fellow defensive midfielder Brian Carroll is anyone's guess, although there are formations that would allow both of them to play together. Plus, talent-wise, there is no argument that Edu is more skilled than most MLS midfielders. So in theory, he could be asked to play a little higher on the field.
  • Before all these signings, John Hackworth had expressed a desire to play more of a 4-3-3 formation this year (4 defenders, 3 midfielders, 3 forwards). With Maidana, Edu and Nogueira, I'm not sure how that happens, unless the three new players fill the midfield. And if that does happen, I'd have to think Carroll gets squeezed out, unless Maidana or Nogueira play as part of the three-man front line.
  • All of this guessing is really pointless until later in preseason (much of which takes place in secret). Camp began Monday in Wayne, and moves to Florida for most of February.
  • Edu not only had a solid playing career in Scotland, he also ended up on one of the United Kingdom's notorious front pages in a "WAG" (wives and girlfriends) scandal in 2012. (The things you find on Google at 1 a.m.)
  • The highlight of his National Team career so far was a goal that wasn't really a goal in the 2010 World Cup.
  • Edu was actually the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2007 with Toronto FC.
  • There's no confirmation yet what uniform number Edu will wear. He has worn No. 10 (University of Maryland), No. 6 (Toronto FC), No. 2 (Rangers), No. 7 (Rangers and USMNT), and No. 13 (Stoke City). With the Union, 10 is available, 2 is not really available (Carlos Valdes) and 6, 7 and 13 are not available (Conor Casey, Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud, respectively). Some Union fans are hoping he chooses No. 11, meaning a simple Letter "E" decal could fix all those Freddy Adu jerseys. (UPDATE: Union writer Kevin Kinkead with some news on that front Tuesday morning.)

  • Finally, a few highlights so you can tell your friends that you are a Maurice Edu expert:

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/OcCnzqZIljI width=620 height=349]

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).

 

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

CLEVELAND -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 41 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night despite missing starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.

Leonard scored six in OT, including a game-sealing dunk with 4.9 seconds left, as the Spurs regrouped after a late collapse in regulation.

David Lee, making a rare start in place of the injured Gasol, added 14 points as San Antonio improved to 18-4 on the road.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 29 apiece for the Cavs, who had the last shot in regulation and had plenty of opportunities in the extra five minutes. Cleveland still had a chance to tie it in the final second of overtime, but Kevin Love missed a 3-pointer (see full recap).

Lillard, McCollum carry Portland to OT win over Boston
BOSTON -- Damian Lillard had a three-point play with 47 seconds left in overtime and finished with 28 points to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 127-123 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, snapping their four-game losing streak.

CJ McCollum scored 35 points to lead Portland, which lost in the closing seconds in Philadelphia on Friday night. Lillard added seven assists.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 41 points, his 14th time this season with 30 or more points. Marcus Smart and Al Horford each scored 17 for the Celtics, who have lost two straight after winning 13 of 16.

Thomas nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:24 to play in OT, pushing Boston ahead by one, but Al-Farouq Aminu was fouled on the next possession and hit both free throws to move Portland back in front.

Lillard then drove the lane, was fouled and hit the free throw. Mason Plumlee had a short jumper in the lane and a free throw in the closing 24 seconds (see full recap).

Booker scores 26 as Suns edge Knicks 107-105
NEW YORK -- Devin Booker scored 26 points and made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and the Phoenix Suns beat the New York Knicks 107-105 on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony's attempt at a winning 3-pointer rimmed out as Phoenix snapped a two-game losing streak and handed New York its second loss in a row.

Eric Bledsoe added 23 points for the Suns, while P.J. Tucker and Marquese Chriss each had 15.

Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, Derrick Rose had 26 and Kristaps Porzingis scored 14 (see full recap).

Dekker scores career-best 30 leading Rockets past Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Sam Dekker scored a career-high 30 points, James Harden added 29 points and 10 assists and the Houston Rockets leaned on their usual 3-point offense to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95 on Saturday night.

Eric Gordon added 21 points as the Rockets built the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before easily coasting home.

Dekker, making his first career start in place of the ill Ryan Anderson, made 12 of 19 shots, including 6 of 11 from outside the arc. Houston shot 51 percent overall and 38 percent from distance.

Marc Gasol scored 32 points and Mike Conley added 15 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four.

Memphis struggled shooting the entire night, finishing at 37 percent and unsuccessfully tried to follow the Rockets' long-range attack but converted only 9 of 34 from outside the arc (see full recap).