Aug. 7, 2008
THE GREAT MOVE
Edu's switch to defense a key move
Tianjin, China -- A good reason why the U.S. is in the Olympics, let alone atop Group B men's standings is one Maurice Edu.
A midfielder with Toronto FC in MLS, U.S. Olympic coach Peter Nowak decided to switch Edu to central defense during the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Tampa in March. And since then he has demonstrated the poise, knowledge and skill to become an impact player on the American' backline.
On Thursday night, Edu spearheaded a defense that broke up and survived several Japanese attacks and near misses in the 1-0 Group B victory over Japan.
During the tournament, Edu acquitted himself well and Nowak decided to use him there in the Olympics after injuries to Jonathan Spectator and Nathan Sturgis.
"We knew from the beginning that we needed to find some options," Nowak said. "Mo is a very intelligent player and he did very well. The cooperation between him, Michael Parkhurst, . . . I’m very happy with how Maurice played tonight and I’m looking forward to having this kind of quality player not only for the Olympic team but also the senior team.”
Edu has settled in quite nicely.
"They feel confident in me back there, and I feel confident playing there,” he said.