It's been exactly a year since Maurice Edu last suited up for the red, white and blue. And the call up comes in the nick of time for his World Cup hopes. "Everyone knows the clock is ticking," said Klinsmann. "This is a huge opportunity for our players to show where they are at and to make their case. We expect them to give a really strong performance against a Mexican team that is now basically coming back on track. They need to prove now that they badly want to go to Brazil."
Jurgen Klinsmann no doubt remembers fondly Edu's last appearance for the USMNT. Edu was the defensive holding midfielder for a unit that earned only their second World Cup Qualifying point in Mexico. It was a gutsy clean sheet by American defenders as the offense barely sniffed their own attacking third. He was also called up for the May 2013 camp but had to pull out due to a sports hernia. He hasn't been called up since. Prior to Mexico, Edu was a USMNT regular for Klinsmann, mostly earning substitution appearances in Qualifiers at different spots in the midfield.
Maurice's ticket for one of the 23 first class seats to Brazil is probably a long shot. But his position flexibility and experience at the World Cup in South Africa could be valuable for a defense in need of big stage confidence. Despite being a defensive minded midfielder, Edu has scored goals on the largest stages in soccer. Well, sort of. Edu scored a goal in the UEFA Champions League for the Rangers in 2010. And during the last World Cup, he had an enormous game winning goal against Slovenia absurdly called back.
Even still, the USMNT midfield is crowded with hopefuls who have made strong cases. There is one recent change that may provide the window of opportunity for Edu. Stoke City right back Geoff Cameron was primarily playing defensive midfield minutes for USMNT, but has recently been getting a look at right back for Klinsmann. Edu could claim the backup spot to Jermaine Jones if Cameron is moved there permanently.
The fact that Edu is healthy and has found consistent playing time with the Union has to intrigue Klinsmann. It certainly would be fun to have one of the Union players to root for alongside our National Team. And this call up will make Wednesday night's match that much more interesting for Union fans.
Here is the full roster for the April 2nd friendly against Mexico.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew),DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC).
Midfielders (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Forwards (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich),Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).