When Maurice Edu signed with the Philadelphia Union over the winter, we hinted at the outside chance he might be bound for Brazil with the United States Men's National Team this summer for the World Cup.
Monday, that became more than just an outside chance.
Edu was named to the 30-man preliminary roster by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Those 30 players will report to Palo Alto, California on Wednesday, with 23 players making the final roster for Brazil. That squad must be announced by June 2.
This means Edu will miss Saturday's home date with New England -- not ideal for a team in the midst of its worst run in five years of existence.
UPDATE: Jake Kaplan of the Philly Daily News just tweeted:
Maurice Edu will play Wednesday in the Union's road match vs. Sporting KC before flying to Cali for U.S. training camp.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) May 12, 2014
The UMSNT has a warm-up game scheduled for May 27, which means all 30 players could still be with the team at that point. Should Edu make the 23-man roster, the Union will be without him for (at least) road games at LA Galaxy (May 25) and Chivas USA (May 31), and a home game with Vancouver (June 7).
Major League Soccer is taking a break during the group stage of the World Cup, but should the United States reach the knockout stage, Edu could also miss games against New England (June 28), FC Dallas (July 4) and Colorado (July 12).
Edu is one of ten midfielders on the preliminary roster.
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
In my opinion, Beckerman, Bradley, Jones and Zusi are definite locks for the squad. Landon Donovan is also on the squad, listed as a forward, but is usually midfielder.
That means Edu is competing with Bedoya, Corona, Davis, Diskerud and Green for spots.
Nine midfielders made the 2010 World Cup squad -- including Edu -- and his flexibility is definitely working in his favor, since he can play defense in a pinch. Right now, I think Diskerud, Davis and Green are all but guaranteed a spot, in addition to the four locks mentioned above. So, Edu could definitely be one of the seven men staying home.
I have a hunch -- nothing more than that, at this point -- that Edu's form and flexibility will earn a seat on the plane.