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September 07, 2016

Union notes: roster reinforcements, rehab starts, and Twitter fights

Soccer Union
090716_BEDOYA_PSP Earl Gardner/Philly Soccer Page

Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (bottom center) got into a brief, but nasty Twitter exchange with former United States forward Eric Wynalda on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday was relatively devoid of significant storylines from Union training.

The most interesting development took place off the field, but we'll get to that later.

These are the takeaways from the morning practice session and head coach Jim Curtin's weekly press conference:

      • Brian Carroll and Ilsinho are back to normal health and full participants in training

      • Josh Yaro has rejoined the team after attending funeral services for his late mother

      • Alejandro Bedoya and Andre Blake return from international duty on Thursday

      • Cole Missimo and Matt Jones have also been entirely removed from the injury report

The Union host Montreal on Saturday before hitting the road for three straight games against Portland, Toronto, and the New York Red Bulls. The club is eight points above the playoff line with just six matches remaining.

'It sucks having to watch'

Maurice Edu played 32 minutes in a rehab start for Bethlehem Steel on Sunday afternoon.

The Union captain was predictably rusty but did not shy from contact and showed glimpses of the ability that earned him places with the U.S. national team and the 2014 MLS All-Star squad.

Edu will not play for the Union on Saturday but could be in line for another start with Bethlehem, who travel to Charleston on the same night.

Curtin said that he "didn't care" about Edu's performance last week. He was happy to see meaningful minutes for the veteran midfielder and center back.

As for Edu, he told reporters after training that he's looking forward to rejoining the first team, whenever that time comes.

"As an athlete, the worst part of the game is being injured and having to watch from the sideline when there's nothing you can do to contribute on the field," Edu said. "You can talk to guys off the pitch, and try to be there for team morale, and give them support from that standpoint, but not being able to contribute on the field, yea, it sucks. Being the captain of the team, it sucks having to watch. Every day that it gets closer and closer to me being on the pitch with the team, it's obviously exciting and something that I'm just going to have to continue working towards."

Low blows and personal attacks

The most interesting thing to take place on Wednesday was a Twitter exchange between Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and former U.S. international forward Eric Wynalda.

There's not much of a backstory. Wynalda is an opinionated former player and current analyst who doesn't think that Bedoya brings much to the U.S. national team. Bedoya responded to the criticism with a series of tweets that referred to Wynalda as a "has been" and referenced an alleged affair that took place between Wynalda's wife and teammate John Harkes before the 1998 World Cup.

That specific tweet was later deleted, but here are a few that weren't taken down.

PhillyVoice asked Curtin if he wished to comment on the argument.

Jim Curtin: "I mean, listen, it's two guys that have strong opinions. Alejandro is a grown man. He can say and speak what he wants. I'm most concerned with Montreal coming up. Again, yea, there's different things that go on in the Twitter universe. Not many of them end up being positive for pro athletes. But I'm not a babysitter. Alejandro is a guy who speaks his mind and I respect that. I'm a guy who thinks you should have freedom of speech. What was said between him and Eric is between him and Eric – well, I guess it's not (laughs) – but, yeah, it's between the two of them. My biggest focus is Montreal and getting the team ready. Alejandro does play a big role in that, so I don't think it's a big distraction for him. He's a guy who is a true professional. I think he's already over it and has moved on to the next day, as he would put it. We look forward to getting him back tomorrow. I saw we made Deadspin again, so I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity.

PhillyVoice: Do you guys have a social media policy for players?

Curtin: "Yeah, we do. We'll have a good discussion."