Edu Does More Than Score Both Goals in a 1-1 Draw

June 23, 2010 - Tshwane/Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa - 23 JUN 2010: Maurice Edu (USA). The United States National Team defeated the Algeria National Team 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.

Let’s get the ironic part out of the way first. Yes, Maurice Edu scored both goals in a 1-1 draw against Valencia. Yes, each was a header off a set piece. And, yes, since the goals occurred in the first and second halves, they were scored in almost the exact same area of the pitch.

But Edu’s performance was about more than two isolated plays. He, for the most part, perfectly executed his manager’s game plan.

Rangers lined up in the 5-4-1/3-6-1 they used in their two previous Champions League matches. Edu and center midfield partner Steven Davis took turns pushing forward to help the attack or staying deep to prevent a counter, but since Valencia had 69% of possession, the center mids spent much of the game in their own half, daring Valencia to try and beat their defense with penetrating passes. The squad wasn’t as concerned with pressing individuals as they were at cutting off passing lanes. Consequently, Edu only took part in two tackles the entire match (he lost both challenges). He did, however, intercept 7 passes, which was indicative of his squad’s hackneyed – but effective – bend but don’t break philosophy.

Edu's defensive stats reflect Rangers' lack of pressing

The Scottish club’s strategy in attack also influenced Edu’s passing stats. Due to his team’s hesitancy to control possession, the gringo attempted just 23 passes. He was fairly efficient when in possession, but his two failed backpasses are somewhat worrisome.

Edu's 23 attempted passes show how little possession Rangers had

So, yeah, Edu had a night that he’ll want to simultaneously cherish and forget. But US fans, and National Team manager Bob Bradley, should take note of his ability to play within a system, though Bob might want to inform Maurice that heading a cross into his own net is not usually part of the game plan.

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bradley's Receding Hairline says:

    It’d be nice to see what Rangers can do when they’re the aggressive ones. They looked pretty good going forward.

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