The Loss of Edu is a huge blow to the US

Maurice Edu – on the last regular season game of the Scottish season – went down with a knee injury that will put him out for the next three months. He not only will miss the start of the Scottish season in August, but the coming confederations cup. This is big blow. One worry is that not being able to participate in preseason training and missing the start of the season could put Edu’s starting position in jeopardy – although Rangers seem very high on him. But this is also a big blow for the U.S.

The starting central midfield for the U.S. in the next world cup looks increasingly set with Edu and Bradley as the anchors. Confederations cup would have been a huge opportunity for them to develop more of a partnership, gain important experience against the top level competition, and get a preview of what next year will be like.

But it is also a blow for Bob Bradley – Confederations Cup was likely going to be a dry-run for the U.S. team and Edu looked like a key piece of that puzzle. Yes Edu had been in and out of the team but: he solidified himself at Rangers, Pablo is getting too long in the tooth, Ricardo Clark has shown flashes, and while Bradley could play there he is better when he can get forward then just sitting deep. With Edu it seemed that Bradley was close to having a very settled squad – with the exception of LB and LM – it was pretty clear that Boca, Gooch, and Cherundulo in the defense, with Bradley and Edu in the midfield, and some combo of Landon, Dempsey and Altidore out wide and up top. With Edu Confederations Cup would have given Bob Bradley a chance to see how well his midfield – and his likely world cup squad stacks up. If Bradley and Edu demonstrate they can cut it defensively – than perhaps he could gamble with more attacking fullbacks – if not perhaps you go with more of a flat back four.

Without Edu, the U.S. go with Clark and Bradley as the two options at holding midfield. I think its smart for the U.S. to move away from Pablo and even Ching – they are useful players in qualifying and have been good servants to the team – but aren’t at the level needed. I have always thought highly of Clark – he has good length, defends well, and is good with the ball. He was one of the better U.S. players in the copa america debacle. The Confederations Cup will be his opportunity to solidify a world cup spot – and perhaps put the 9 game ban behind him for kicking the crap out of Carlos Ruiz (as much as you might have enjoyed that – Bob Bradley did not and definitely led to some regression in his role with the USMNT). So on the bright side, lets hope that Clark grabs this opportunity and gives this squad so more badly needed depth. Who knows may be he will finally get noticed in Europe?

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