Onyewu scores game-winning goal for Sporting Lisbon

Onyewu (Reuters)

U.S. national team centerback Oguchi Onyewu is slowly, but surely, working his way back to the level he once enjoyed as the best defender in the U.S. national team pool.

First, Onyewu enjoyed his first start with new club Sporting Lisbon, and on Monday he delivered his first goal, a game-winning header in Sporting's 3-2 victory against Rio Ave on Monday.

Here is the goal (after a short commercial):

What do you think of Onyewu establishing himself with Sporting? See him regaining his starting role with the U.S. national team?

Share your thoughts below.

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77 Responses to Onyewu scores game-winning goal for Sporting Lisbon

  1. ronniet says:

    hell yeah goochie! They play technical football in portugal so hopefully gooch has been crafting his art of passing the ball out of the back instead of relying on the long ball….keep your head down gooch and you’ll be doning the red, white and blue in the forseeable future babes!

  2. KEEP says:

    Just a little power behind that header. Damn, not sure many folks in the wide world of soccer would have A. slowed his run B. saved that

  3. leftcoastmetro says:

    The link doesn’t work.

  4. Andy in Atlanta says:

    A lot of people have been hating on Gooch over the past 2 years but the fact is he has had to overcame a very serious knee injury… When healthy can be a beast in the air and playing in Portugal will only better his distribution… I still hold out hope that he will make the 2014 WC squad..

    I still remember the Gooch that was a beast when Liverpool struggled to beat Standard Liege… he was a top class defender then… he can be again..

  5. donttreadonme says:

    Not marked the whole way. Wow.

  6. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Oh… and that was a BEAST of a header… FWIW

  7. leftcoastmetro says:

    Ok it works now. All I could think of was, please, teammates, don’t jump on him, he might bust a tendon!

    But congratulations – would love him to get back to form!

  8. Footballgasm says:

    Gooch looked like that dinosaur-like thing in the Resistance 3 commercial ad before the video. He was like a Velociraptor meeting that ball. How in the hell is no one marking a 6 ft 3 in. manbeast there? They must of been scared.

  9. K-Town says:

    Damn, Gooch got some hops on that beast header. Marked or not, nobody was going to stop him on that play.

  10. wilyboy says:

    So who’s decision was it not to mark THAT guy? (chuckle) seriously, I know he’s not solidified a starting role yet, but how do you not respect a bison on two legs charging you?

    This is great news, I was certainly hopeful when he moved to Sporting, hopefully he remembers the rest of his game soon.

  11. V says:

    Yeah probably, I mean he’s a giant if he fell on anyone they’d surely be dead, thank God no one tried to be a hero.

  12. Todd says:

    WTG Gooch! Very happy for him. Would love to see him back with the USMNT, provided he can regain his old form. His size and power cause serious problems for the opposition.

  13. Mockatu says:

    Goochie’s a beast. Way to go!! congratulations on starting and scoring. He’ll definitely have a shot at the Nattys again if he retains his form and health. No other current american has played centerback at his level.

  14. V says:

    “regains the rest of his form”, I’d really like to see him paired with Omar or GJ at centre back, would it work? In addition to Chandler and Lichaj on the wings.

  15. cajun says:

    Gooch should be able to dominate this league, which the players are smallish but skilled. Sporting also has an awesome urban stadium, much better than Benfica even though they’re only a few miles apart in Lisbon….Keep it up Gooch!!!

  16. V says:

    Onyewu is a beast wished he would’ve gotten more chances at AC Milan with the “Rossoneri’, they don’t know what they’re missing, but his injury did make tham less inclined to hang onto him though, it was a nice gesture of him to play for free to repay them for signing him and not playing.

  17. wilyboy says:

    Not sure what you’re correcting, (he knows how to head in goals, but he still needs to prove himself defensively to nail down that spot. Still don’t think he’s back to where he was).

    As for who he would pair with, who knows? He’s always worked well with a reactive/sweeper type player, he challenges first and they clean up the mess. Bottom line, he needs to “regain form” before resuming his place as automatic starter.

  18. T says:

    True, he needs to continue to put in more solid performances with SCP, he is a valuable asset to our team for sure.

  19. JJ's shin says:

    I still remember his performance against Spain in the Confederations Cup. It doesn’t matter how old he is if he can get back to that level he deserves to be back with the nat’l team. I have a college mate from Lisbon who grew up supporting Sporting, and according to him Gooch has shown well so far.

  20. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Nice one, Gooch!

  21. Brian says:

    Wow what an awesome header. I keep watching it over and over. Hopefully (and it likes it is) the knee is better.

  22. KenC says:

    He had a whole head of steam behind that goal.

  23. MC Pharaoh says:

    Gooch & Beasley playin well lately? You dont know how bad I wanted this. Im not going to be premature about it though. They need to have one strong season for confidence and stay consistant as long as possible.

  24. BK says:

    This is a killer header and I’m glad that Gooch is seeing solid minutes again. Obviously I’d love to see him regain his pre-injury form and return to the Nats. But being realistic, I don’t think he’s “surely” on his way all the way back, as this post suggests. He hasn’t been able to consistently prove or establish himself yet for club or country in the two years since. I think this is a promising sign and I’m rooting for him, but there’s no guarantees here at all.

  25. dgoshilla says:

    Regardless of his play his age is still a factor. The guy will be 32 when 2014 rolls around should we qualify. I continue to see US fans forget about age when talking about players, lineups etc. I’m not saying 32 is too old I’m just saying at 27 when Gooch peaked he wasn’t necessarily known for skill or speed and at 32 that will be even less likely.

  26. Edwin in LA says:

    6 ft. 4 in according to wikipedia for what is worth.. lol

    But I agree, how tha hell do you let a guy THAT big all along in a tied game of all moments, late in the 2nd half? I hope he goes far in Europa, at least to the round of 16 so he faces the teams that don’t make the knock out rounds of CL, if he can make the semis he’ll see some REAL good games considering how good Braga, Porto and Benfica are already?

  27. Martha says:

    Good sign. How was his defense?
    Dont want to get too excited like those who believed in the resurrection of cd9 after 4 pk goals.

  28. Kevin_Amold says:

    I was critical of him, but only because he was on the field for the Yanks when he clearly wasn’t fit enough to be out there. Gooch can be a dominant defensive force.

    I have a picture hanging up in my office of Fernando Torres and Gooch exchanging shirts, Torres with his head down, knowing he had been bested. I love this picture.

  29. PetedeLA says:

    Eh… do you want to mark him? lol

  30. MensreaJim says:

    Yeah, I think the increased playing time is a better indicator than one fairly spectacular play.

    That being said, let’s hope this PT continues. I love this guy at his best.

  31. Josh says:

    Decent header. He was unmarked and he didn’t have to sky to get to it, but really, his jump and timing were perfect for the height of the ball.

    If the USMNT can develop strong CBs who are comfortable on the ball, Gooch’s days in the stripes are numbered, but I think he still has a lot to offer the team and I hope he gets back to the form he displayed in the 2009 Confed Cup, where he was just dominant.

  32. PetedeLA says:

    32 isn’t that old for central defenders. The only problem is that older players tend to be susceptible to little injuries that they were able to shake off in younger days.

    But I take your point. As the game gets faster and faster,there is a tendency for even defenders to become more mobile– Phil Jones as an example. Terry and Mertesacker as anti-examples.

  33. mug says:

    I’ve been one of the guys hating on him for quite some time now but that was a phenomenal header. Hopefully he can be that top class defender again. Fingers crossed.

  34. DecaturGooner says:

    I’ve had some real doubts about the Gooch for a while, but I really hope that he can get back to what he was and add some improved positioning ability.

  35. marden08 says:

    Nobody was hating on him as much as he couldn’t run or move sideways at all. If he is over his injuries and can run and is quicker he will help us. i thought he was shot. this is a testimony to his perseverance. Good for him.

  36. CDC says:

    Not hating on Gooch. Great goal, I hope he gains his on his heel speed back. But The coverage he had was nonexistent. But glad he scored.

  37. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    If a man sees another man playing soccer poorly, and comments about that poor played soccer, that doesn’t make him a hater. Sometimes we need to be realistic and call a spade a spade.

    That said, that video of Gooch showed one very large, and very happy man. I’m glad for him.

  38. RNG says:

    Cap him!

  39. marco says:

    Good to see him get up like that. It’s been awhile.

  40. Edwin in LA says:

    I think he’s started in 3 matches, last weekend, midweek for Europa, and has played 90 minutes in all of them.

    He’s got 4 Liga games and 2 Europa games until October 30th. Both Europa League games are at home, so he should have a great run heading towards the November international friendlies if Jurgen wants to see him and call him in.

    I hope he gets back to form, only makes them deeper and elevates the level of our center backs, George John, Omar Gonzalez & Tim Ream along with Michael Orozco who is still on the outside looking in, would have to raise their games.

    Geoff Cameron’s back at CB, watch out for him

  41. Edwin in LA says:

    I think he’ll be just fine, more important is he for sure can play at 30 and barely 31, he can help and EXCEL in World Cup Qualifying.

    We do need to play guys like John, Omar, Orozco, Whitbread and even Cameron & maybe Ihemelu in friendlies now until August of next year before the 1st group play of qualifying. There’s 6 games in that phase from September to November.

    Can’t hurt to have him?

  42. Edwin in LA says:

    He did get 5 run of play and hustle goals?

    He got 1 PK on 1st game of season, and 3rd. But if you keep being dangerous I don’t see how having PK goals is that bad? Granted he dove for 2 of them?

    Guy has 8 goals from run of play, I believed 1 PK he drew with his speed and a dangerous run, other was not even him getting it & 2 dives. He did miss one, don’t recall how he got that PK but he missed it.

    He can finish which is something we need, if he scores again, I think he needs to be called. It will hurt him not to have Pontius anymore but we are in need of a forward that can finish and run with his pace

  43. seth says:

    DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN

    TOWERING HEADER

  44. Felix says:

    I don’t think Gooch will ever be the player he once was, so no, I don’t see him becoming the rock that he was back in 2009, that being said – he was a good defender who I think could’ve made a name for himself if that injury didn’t happen.

  45. chris says:

    Haha fifa 12 is sponsoring the roast of charlie sheen

  46. Ski Fast! says:

    I’m glad he scores a goal, he’s a great asset to have on set pieces. But, I need him to consistently position himself in the right places throughout a match–and do so match after match after match–before I clamor for him to be called up again.

  47. beachbum says:

    sweet :) force your way back into the conversation Gooch!

  48. Igor says:

    They were using a zonal marking scheme on the corner, and there was a guy marking the spot where Gooch hit the header. Unfortunately that guy is in the hospital now.

  49. MidWest Ref says:

    I am missing the hater comment that blamed Gooch for the fact that the other team came from 2-0 down. Just kidding. Great to see the big man get a goal.

  50. james says:

    Made my day! Great to see a great USMNT prospect finding success on a really good team in a really good league.

  51. hogatroge says:

    That’s a Bob Bradley decision. In his place, it would be hard to turn down a cap. His club situation wasn’t great and I’m sure he felt he could use the exposure.

  52. b says:

    Well said.

    Gooch looked awful for a while, who knows if he will ever be back fully, but at least he’s looking better now.

  53. PFDDT says:

    Oh come off it. We had no other option. None.

  54. glen says:

    too bad he cant play defense

  55. pd says:

    Thank the baby Jesus. He couldn’t be forcing his way back into relevance at a better time.

  56. nic d "the tx 2 stepper" says:

    Who you calling a SPADE!

    just kidding :-)

  57. jfc says:

    nice hustle to the ball gooch. i just can’t give him the call back up to the nats. watch that game and the 2 goal they let in. keep it up and we’ll see.

  58. RSL123 says:

    Wow, he really got up there! TONS of power!

  59. mouf says:

    he headed that der ball hard

  60. Dominghosa says:

    anyone see tony taylor’s goal? look it up. awesome work/skills by the kid.

  61. Mike says:

    The Portuguese newspaper said this: Onyewu – Slow, missed the entry time to the ball on several occasions, without compromising. He scored the decisive goal with a stunning header.

    In other words, can’t judge a player by one goal or one highlight. Hoep he continues to improve.

    link to cmjornal.xl.pt

  62. Shane says:

    from what I’ve read it can take two to three years for a player to become 100% after the knee injury Gooch sustained. Hopefully this is a sign that he is getting there.

  63. biff says:

    Just found the photo on the Internet. Thanks for the tip, nice photo–and Torres, whom I like, does look very defeated…

    link to oleole.com

  64. Cylo says:

    In other words no much has changed. He scored a goal against Poland and still sucked as a CB.

  65. MidWest Ref says:

    And it came from Mike at 3:48 – way to go Mike

  66. BF says:

    I love how a lot of you guys want to heap praise on Gooch just because he scored a goal. It doesn’t change the fact that his technical and decision making ability is VERY poor. Being big is NOT a skill people. I see a glimmer of hope in the USMNT program now that Klinsi is running things. Gone are the days of the big, fast & robotic soccer players, in are the technical / smart players where size is secondary. Gooch is the former.

  67. c(note) says:

    It looked like there was a lot of aggression behind that header and the release of some long building frustration in that celebration. Good for you gooch

  68. bryan says:

    This is great! I love Gooch. Even when he was really out of form and I was always pulling for him. He’s such a beast in the air and a good personality for the USMNT. I really hope he continues to find PT with Sporting and works his back to the USMNT. I know he isn’t the most technical, but maybe playing in Portugal will help with that. I’m just glad he’s coming back from injury finally.

    GGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOCCCCHHHHH!

  69. BS BF says:

    yeah cause we have quality international centerbacks by the bushel basket, right?

    I’m not saying all the guy up now, but if you’re willing to not consider him because he’s not good enough compared to some mythical future USMNT player then you might as well sit everyone. You don’t burn a bridge simply because you think can see the other side of the river.

  70. richd says:

    Its great to see Gooch coming back. It was also good to see that he got a lot of air before making the header.

    Hopefully this means he is working his way back from the knee injury

  71. BF says:

    He’s not good enough..he represents the past, not the future.

  72. Shane says:

    Yeah, top Serie A, Portuguese, and Belgian sides signed him only because he is big. Right. So Klinsi is a better scout of defensive tactics and skill than the scouts from those clubs? Why dont we ask a world class defender such as Philip Lahm what he thinks of Klinsmann’s defensive tactical knowledge.

  73. Hush says:

    If Gooch is healthy, then he is back in the mix. Boca & Gooch in the back is the best combo we have. Unfortunatetly we don’t have Lucio’s in our pool, so Gooch getting back healthy is a plus. John, Gonzo, Ream, and Orozco are just average defenders. Demerit is a beast, but I think that ship has sailed with all the injury problems he’s been having. With that said, if Gooch is healthy, he is our CB. He’s the best we have when healthy.

    I think all the low blows Gooch gets are pretty harsh & unfair. Knee injuries are not an easy task. He sucked do to injuries. What’s our CB’s excuses who are in our pool as of now? They suck, and they seem to be healthy. :)

  74. Dave says:

    Looked like they were trying to zone mark him. It was a stupid idea but it’s not like he was left completely alone

  75. Kaiser says:

    Its nice he scored a goal, but he is still too slow and is constantly out of position. Hope we never have to see him in a USMNT jersey again (if we do its a bad sign for our defense)

  76. Zoe says:

    …and Charlie Davies!

  77. Zoe says:

    Oh come on- 32 is not old if you stay in shape. How old will Ronaldhino be in 2014? Just look at him go!