Edu rides roller coaster for Glasgow in Champions League match
Glasgow Rangers and U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu experienced most of the peaks and valleys a professional soccer player in Europe can in a span of five days.
By rising high to head home a corner kick in the first half of Rangers' match against Valencia last Wednesday, Edu became the first American to score in the UEFA Champions League since DaMarcus Beasley accomplished the feat for Rangers FC in 2007. Edu took a punch to the face from Valencia keeper Cesar Sanchez while putting his head in the ball's path but managed to make direct contact to give Rangers the 33rd-minute lead.
After reaching the highest of highs, Edu's day took a turn for the worse after he managed to head in a second goal 13 minutes later -- only into the wrong net -- accounting for both goals in the teams' 1-1 draw.
"The first goal, I didn't even have time to celebrate, because I took a knock on the head and was laid on the ground for a while," Edu told the BBC after the match. "The own goal, I saw it late, and the next thing I know it hit me and it was in. I was trying to mark the guy in front of me, and it looked like he was going to get it and at the last minute it hit me. That was obviously disappointing."
Just days after Edu's elation-turned-disappointment, opportunity for success came again, this time in the form of a solid performance against a bitter rival in one of the world's most fierce rivalries.
The California native had a hand in setting up the game-winning goal in Rangers' comeback 3-1 victory over Celtic FC in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday, helping Rangers take the outright lead in the Scottish Premier League.
Edu has scored some clutch goals in his career, including a late game-winner over Celtic last season and the Champions League tally last week. If not for the notorious call by Koman Coulibaly that nullified an Edu goal in the U.S.' match against Slovenia over the summer, Edu might have a World Cup match-winner on his résumé, too.
Edu's headline-grabbing performance was the highlight during a week when Benny Feilhaber rediscovered his scoring touch, Sacha Kljestan returned to the starting lineup, Mike Grella made an impact with his new club and a couple of Americans playing in the lower divisions of Germany and Portugal also scored. Here's how the Americans playing abroad fared during the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):