A little more on the kerfuffle involving MLS, Philadelphia and Maurice Edu

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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.”

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

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How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

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After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

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But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

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