Some of the rumor, whisper and conjecture on Maurice Edu has evolved into something a little closer to fact today, with more on the record now about the former U.S. international who wants back into Major League Soccer.
Philadelphia that is working so hard through MLS to get Edu into its midfield at PPL Park. SI.com’s Grant Wahl had some solid news on Thursday, quoting Philadelphia president Nick Sakiewicz on the efforts to land Edu.
His career has completely wandered off into the woods; he never gained a bit of traction at Stoke City, a complete afterthought form the minute of arrival, apparently. I’ve heard people talk about Edu being desperate to get into the World Cup roster conversation. In reality, it may be too late for that; he just needs to get his career back.
Whether Edu gets back into MLS (he started with Toronto, where good performance caught the eye of Rangers in Scotland) you’ll hear more about this one. That’s because MLS may or may not have put the kibosh on this one, alarmed about “value” and “precedents” and such. Richard Farley had more on that ongoing kerfuffle yesterday at ProSoccerTalk.
Sooner or later, Major League Soccer will have to remove the subjectivity from this stuff. At some point, it’s just not fair to allow one team to overpay dramatically (Michael Bradley) but then not allow another one to do so.
Or, is there something more at work here? I’ve been told in the past by people I trust that Philadelphia sometimes struggles to meet the league’s cash calls, something I’ve never confirmed on the record. So perhaps this is the league’s way of reminding Philadelphia that it takes money to sit at the big boys table.
Later, here’s what Philadelphia manager John Hackworth told ESPN about the ongoing efforts to sign Edu: “We’re all working really hard at it. I’m an optimist, so I think something very good is going to come out of this. I know the league ourselves, and Mo and his representatives, we’re all doing all we can to make this work.”
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]
Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]
That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
[ STREAM: Every PL game online ]
A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.