You know those enormous toppling domino chains that people set off (current world record 4,491,863)? The very first one to fall and get the whole thing going is known as 'the pushover' so perhaps that should also be the new name for Maurice Edu. Now I know what you are saying, that a name like 'The Pushover' is about as ill-fitting for Mo Edu as that old powder blue confirmation suit is on big Jim Curtin, but bear with me. In committing to Edu as one of the bigger names on the roster for however many years makes up 'multi', the Union FO might just have shown their hand and set in motion a whole bunch of other moves.
Now there is one very big question that remains to be answered definitively, and that is where on the pitch is Curtin going to play Edu? Initially signed a defensive midfielder, Edu saw more time in the back four under the control of Curtin as the season came to a close. Out of the last seven league games he was at center back for six, only seeing action in midfield in the crushing 3-2 loss at home to Columbus. With Curtin having been appointed as the interim coach on June 10th and then promoted to manager by September 24th this was very much Jim Curtin's team selection. Ordinarily that would be very strong empirical evidence that Edu is seen as a center back, however there are more than a few caveats to throw in. Namely the absolute shambles of a back line that the Union suffered throughout the course of the 2014 season.
At many points last term it seemed as if the number of players who played in the back four might approach the heady numbers of the aforementioned domino toppling world record. Okay, it wasn't over four million but blimey O'Reilly if it didn't feel like it at times. While it might be true that it is in fact a bit more than just defense that wins championships, one thing that is more certain than Danny Cruz falling over at high speed at some point every Saturday afternoon is that a settled back four is vital for both defensive solidity and most importantly for instilling confidence in a goalkeeper. With so many changes to deal with perhaps it is understandable that Curtin opted to put the calm veteran leadership, imposing physical presence, and skill set of Mo Edu at the back to try and settle a defensive unit that was leakier than US National Security.
So, why am I rushing to get 'The Pushover' printed on the back of my Union shirt? At this stage only Curtin and the Union FO know, but I have a feeling that by hitching their wagon to Edu all the rest of the pieces of the Union's off-season acquisitions can start to fall in to place like so many multi-colored dominoes. The rational side of my blue and gold brain says that Carlos Valdes plus one of Austin Berry or Ethan White will hold down the center back duties allowing Edu to return to his preferred destroyer / distributor role at the base of the mis-shaped diamond that Curtin seems to favor. Unfortunately the other side of my brain that is deeply scarred by all the irrational, paranoid, incomprehensible, and almost schizophrenic decision making we have seen from the FO over five roller coaster seasons can't stop thinking that Mo will somehow find his way to the center forward position in a bizarro yang to the ying of the great 'Aaron Wheeler is a center back' experiment - although I still think that particular piece of folly never really happened and it was all just some hysterical illusion brought on by watching too many Don Garber press conferences.
All in all the signing of Edu to a multi-year contract is great news for the Union - if Chaco Maidana and Vincent Noguiera can take what they have learned from their freshman year in MLS and apply that alongside the commanding defensive presence of Edu then things have to be looking up for the boys in blue. Let's not forget that the Union have already signed CJ Sapong and presumably still have a trick or two up their sleeve for the forward position (remember that the Maidana and Noguiera signings happened in January). The question is, will the remaining dominoes be more double twelves than double blanks?