Union midfielder Maurice Edu has mixed emotions. On one hand, he is anxiously awaiting Monday, when U.S. Soccer will announce the 30-man preliminary roster for the World Cup.
On the other, the Union's struggles during this difficult Major League Soccer season weigh heavily on his mind.
The Union dropped to 1-5-5 with Saturday's 1-0 loss to D.C. United at PPL Park. In the process, the Union set a franchise record with its ninth consecutive winless game. Even the expansion team of 2010 never had a winless streak longer than six games.
It's believed that Edu will be on the preliminary roster, but he is taking nothing for granted. And even for players who make the preliminary roster, there is still work to do in order to be on the final one. The 23-man World Cup roster has to be pared down by June 2.
"It's something I am looking forward to but not putting that ahead of what is going on here," Edu said after Saturday's loss. "I try to focus on trying to get results here, because at the moment that is what is important."
Edu, who was a member of the 2010 World Cup team, is in his first year with the Union but has become extremely loyal to the franchise.
The losing has frustrated Edu and everybody else associated with the team. Yet with 23 MLS games remaining, Edu remains convinced the team will turn its fortunes around.
"I have a lot of belief in this team here, and I strongly believe we can still do something special this season," he said. "It is going to take that first win."
Actually, there has been one win, over New England. What Edu meant was the first win to end this current streak.
"For some reason we dug a hole for ourselves collectively, but we continue to train hard and believe in everything we are doing," he said.
He then expanded on that statement.
"We are doing the right things," said Edu, who has two goals and one assist for the Union. "We are training properly; the coaches have us on the right path. It's a matter of executing and just getting over that hump."
If he makes the preliminary roster, Edu is expected to play in the Union's game Wednesday at Sporting Kansas City before joining the national team.
He admitted that this season has been a major character test for both him and his Union teammates.
"It is easy to put your head down and kind of give in, but we need to continue to stay strong as a group," he said. "We have to keep our heads up and keep believing in what we are doing."