Designated player Maurice Edu, who has been sidelined this season with a stress fracture in his left leg, has waited more than 11 months to play for the Union. The wait will be at least a little longer.
Even though Edu returned to the field Sunday to play for the Union's United Soccer League affiliate, the Bethlehem Steel, Union coach Jim Curtin says the player will need more seasoning before returning to Major League Soccer action.
Edu last played for the Union on Sept. 30 in the championship of the U.S. Open Cup when they lost in penalty kicks to visiting Sporting Kansas City.
Curtin doesn't have a timetable for Edu's return, but he ruled him out of Saturday's game against the Montreal Impact at Talen Energy Stadium.
The plan, according to Curtin, would be to see Edu show progress while competing for the Steel.
In his first game action this year, Edu played 32 minutes for the Steel in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls II.
"The next [game for Edu with the Steel], we want a little more and a little more sharpness on the ball, getting the ball in that six spot (defensive midfield) and starting out attack and will look at that part of things," said Curtin, whose team is 11-10-7 for 40 points with six games remaining.
The Steel play Saturday in Charleston, S.C., and it's likely that Edu will participate in that game.
Edu had an honest assessment of his performance.
"I felt a little bit rusty and I know that will come so I am not worried about that," he said Wednesday morning after a training session. "It was a good test to see where my leg is at, in terms of going into tackles, going into challenge, reacting to different plays, having to cut, having to turn, all those awkward and unpredictable movement you have to do in a game."
Edu said the day after the game he experienced some soreness, but no more than he had the day after training.
Curtain also said that midfielder Brian Carroll, who has been sidelined since suffering a foot injury on Aug. 6, could be available for selection on Saturday.
Keeper Andre Blake and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who were with Jamaica and the U.S., respectively, for World Cup qualifiers and missed Saturday's 3-0 loss to the host Chicago Fire, will return to the team for Thursday's training.