Onyewu agrees to mutually part ways with Sporting CP

Oguchi Onyewu Sporting CP 1 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Oguchi Onyewu is officially a free agent.

After weeks of trying to part ways with Sporting CP, Onyewu and the Portuguese club reached an agreement to do so on Thursday. Onyewu, a two-time World Cup veteran who was most recently with the U.S. Men’s National Team in July for the 2013 Gold Cup, is now a free agent and can sign with any team interested in his services.

Onyewu signed with Sporting CP back in 2011 and enjoyed a strong first season, but still was deemed surplus to requirements during the last summer transfer window and was loaned out to Spanish club Malaga for the 2012-13 campaign. The 31-year-old Onyewu made 17 starts and scored four goals during his one season with Sporting CP, but was limited to just two appearances with Malaga.

What do you think of Onyewu mutually parting ways with Sporting Lisbon? Where should he go next? Wishing for an MLS team to pick him up? Still hoping he makes it back onto the USMNT?

Share your thoughts below.

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101 Responses to Onyewu agrees to mutually part ways with Sporting CP

  1. GJJ says:

    Watching him in the Gold Cup, I was struck by the feeling that his style was something of a bygone era for the US team. Big, strong and thumping the ball 50 yards up the field instead of playing out of the back. He gave his all for the US squad and I will always have fond memories of him, but the game seems to have passed him by. The injuries haven’t helped and perhaps they have had an influence on how he plays the ball when he gets the chance. I expect to see him back in MLS sooner or later and wish him all the best.

    • AC says:

      Very true. Since that game against Costa Rica whent he first major injury happened, he’s never been the same. Still have great memories of his stare down with Jared Borgetti.

    • Jim says:

      GJJ — totally agree regarding his style of play. His reluctance (inability) to play out of the back was so obvious in his first appearance for JK that I was shocked that he was even brought back for another chance.

    • RAMONE says:

      I too love Gooch. That injury was just devastating and I agree that his style on both the USMNT as well as where global soccer has gone and even MLS is finally going (see RSL, Portland, etc.) with a focus on backs who can win the ball and make short passing combinations to maintain possession seems to not be his forte, particularly post injury.

  2. g-dub says:

    Come on home Gooch. You’ve travelled the globe and represented us admirably for many years. Now come to MLS and play out the twilight of your career in front of the people who love you. Still a lot in the tank to show a few young bucks how its done old school.

  3. Modibo says:

    Hellloooo, Rangers!

  4. AC says:

    Old school partnership with Bocanegra and Chivas USA? Hopefully Gooch will realize his European window is pretty much closed unless he goes to a much smaller league, aka Sweden, Denmark, etc., and come home to MLS.

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    He might have waited a little late to come back to MLS this year. Sure he can come here whenever because he’s out of contract but the window is when it is easiest to do the shuffling of players and cap cash to enable such a move. Now you’d be doing someone a favor to sign a former NTer, and I think you’d almost have to have given up on your season to re-blow your team up to facilitate another team’s signing.

    There are teams in the world like Greece that still play tough defense and long ball, but I will grant that particularly with Klinsi at the helm he is fighting what is fashionable here and in the many teams imitating Barcelona (though Barca has come back to the pack the past couple post-Pep years, not that it’s been much discussed).

    He is also simply past it health and fitness wise. I think that more than anything rules him out internationally, and might even limit his success here.

  6. Jason says:

    Hopefully not MLS yet. It would be nice if his agent had realistic prospects for his club future…something in League 1 (Nantes would be great), an EPL relagation fave like Hull, heck…a Championship side would be great.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Why is a championship side a better option than MLS? Sure, the other sides you mention would be better but why would they sign someone who couldn’t get playing time at a team that finished 7th in Portugal last season?

  7. Todd says:

    He has stated that the only team in MLS he will play for is DC United. I think he should come to MLS because since he moved from Standard Liege (sp?) to AC Milan, he has not gotten regular playing time and his game has suffered as a result.

  8. Dan says:

    poor guy
    going to AC Milan and that injury completely killed his career

    • Felix says:

      I think the injury hurt him more than anything.
      He was a player who leveraged his pure physical ability to a good pro career. I don’t think he was able to adjust his lessened abilities after coming back to full fitness.
      He’s a native of the DC area, I wonder if he’d come back to MLS?

  9. ANM says:

    MLS is a possibility. But consider this: he’s an powerfully built, 31 year old central defender with European and international experience, available for free. For a manager at a newly promoted D1 or top level D2 club looking either to shore up a defense or just add depth, he’s definitely worth a flyer, injury history notwithstanding.

    • Thunderbear says:

      He’s 31. It says so in the article up top you apparently didn’t bother reading before commenting on.

      • Paul says:

        The original article said he was 29.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        ha; the only thing worse than an @sshole is an ignorant @sshole.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Hilarious: for forever we’ve been moderated unless we type “gr@ss” or “@ssist,” but the moderation-bot isn’t programmed to detect the obvious “@sshole” (as if the “@” makes that any less the offensive word that it is).

  10. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Why not a good old-fashioned American team—like Stoke or Sunderland? ;)

  11. Union Rumors says:

    Isn’t there some stipulation with MLS that, since he wasn’t a free agent when the North American summer transfer window opened, he cannot be signed after the window closes?

  12. CCJC says:

    Flashback to 2005:

    link to youtube.com

  13. RK says:

    Barcelona never picked up a new defender…

  14. Baropbop says:

    Can’t imagine that he pressures for a release if he didn’t already have offers in place. Doubt he’s coming to mls.

    • Paul says:

      That is exactly what I was thinking. His 2011-2012 season for Sporting was actually very good, but their coach left and they decided to go younger and rebuild. Thus, he was surplus to requirements. He was never quite a fit at Malaga. Let’s be honest, even before his career altering injury, he was a never a play it out of the back with your feet /great with ball at his feet CB which is trending in Spain.

      My guess is that he has had conversations with teams in B-leagues (maybe Belgian or other Portuguese teams etc), who would bring him in without paying the price of a transfer. Sporting might have known that because why else would they resist releasing a player they no longer want and still be responsible for his salary.

  15. kcee says:

    Seattle could use a CB right now.

    Could complete our transformation into the USMNT practice squad.

    • petedx says:

      Makes sense, might as well go in front of Portland again in the allocation process. I’m sure MLS will make it happen if that’s what the Sounders want.

      • DPs do not go through allocation says:

        DPs, regardless of their USMNT status, do not go through the allocation process.

        Onyewu, if he were to return as a DP, would not go through the allocation process.

        If Onyewu comes to MLS for less than (or equal) to the MLS salary maximum, would go through allocation because he is a USMNT player. So Portland, then Seattle, then etc. DC could trade up with Portland to get the #1 spot.

        Only people who don’t understand the MLS allocation/DP rules think Seattle somehow bent the rules to get Dempsey.

        • RAMONE says:

          No, I think what he is saying is that if Seattle really wanted him, MLS would let them have a 4th DP (suddenly announcing a new rule, effective immediately) or restructure Martins or Rosales contracts so they were no longer DPs.

          The fact is that MLS has no published rule that says DP supersedes all other processes of player allocation (Draft, re-entry, USMNT allocation, discovery lists, etc.). Please show me where MLS publishes that DP supersedes SuperDraft (you can bet they would put a stop tomorrow to Columbus or Chivas attempting to sign the some phenom shoo-in for #1 pick out of college to a DP contract rather than going through the draft), Allocation, Re-entry, discovery, etc. etc. etc. player acquisition mechanisms. You can’t because it isn’t written anywhere (other than MLS explaining things after the fact). Yes, they have some precedent, but choose to follow it and not follow it when it suits them which many believe hurts the league.

          Yes, I am a Timber fan. No the problem isn’t that Dempsey is in Seattle, not Portland. The problem is that MLS needs to be perfectly transparent with which rules trump the next when their byzantine player acquisition rules overlap and a player fits all of the requirements for one, but they choose to allow him to go elsewhere via another.

          • DPs do not go through allocation says:

            Read sections A and B, in their entirety:

            link to pressbox.mlssoccer.com

            Don’t cherry pick any phrases. Read both sections. If a player is paid more than the league’s salary maximum, what must they be? Hence Dempsey’s arrival to MLS outside the allocation process.

            Those rules have been published for years, by the way.

            • petedx says:

              Is there a rule where the MLS pays for the transfer fee. Also section A and B are pretty ambiguous at best, but that’s what happens in calvinball.

    • pyite622 says:

      I’m sure MLS could overlook the allocation order rules and make that happen for you.

    • Pace says:

      You think goochs knees could take turf every home game?

  16. LookMa says:

    He should come to the MLS if he wants an actual career, rather than playing bit part for a European club. I don’t see the point in joining a club in Scandinavia or something. For a younger player fine but at his age it doesn’t make much sense.

  17. quitetheschemer says:

    go join Sasha at Anderlecht?

  18. 242edq says:

    damn that injury Oct 09 really screwed his career up

    he dented his hopes at AC Milan. Let’s be realistic. A short loan to Twente in Holland. A solid season at Sporting Lisbon where they came close to the title, the Europa League trophy and domestic cup all thanks to him. He had like 10 matches for Malaga on loan last season. Sucks but he was injured and the coach didnt wanna change up the team. He’s a good guy. Hopefully he gets 1 last chance to prove himself. He should head to Turkey. Get that $$$$$

    and he’s played in loads of CL and UEFA/EUROPA LEAGUE matches. 1 of the best US defenders ever in EUROPE. Chelsea and Real Madrid were interested in him years ago.

  19. bryan says:

    DC United

  20. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    MLS here he comes, wait……..ah i forgot. MLS has parity like an Amish family. MLS has no free agency, a crazy allocation process and a low salary cap.
    He would be a perfect fit in galaxy, if only gonzalez would decide to go to EUROPE, since he knows bruce, but i think any MLS team needs his experience.
    But what about ligaMX since LigaMX is a retirement league for american players, JK lol.
    LigaMX would take him in a instant, even a big team….well ligamx has like 9 big teams, compared to MLS

  21. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    DC United! Bring him in as a DP so there is no allocation process. Then re-structure the contract within a year to be a non-DP so that DP can be used on a quality forward or midfielder.

    • Josh D says:

      As a DC fan, no thanks! Especially as a DP. Gooch will be injured for half the season and will do his knee in the moment he steps onto the field against Seattle.

      I’d take Gooch, but only at $200k. He has said he’d prefer DC so let’s see.

      • DC Josh says:

        Exactly, bring him in as a non-DP. His knee will be an issue. But, he is from the DC area, and our defense sucks, so it would be a good fit.

  22. 2tone says:

    I am sure he will have some offers in Europe, but I would not be surprised to see DC try to get him.

  23. Joe A. says:

    He’s said he isn’t ready to move back to MLS although I’d personally like to see him there.

  24. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Sad to see my MVP in USA vs Italy World Cup 2006, is downward spiral career wise. Oguchi Onyewu was best and most skilled defender, better than Pope and Bocanegra.

    • Reid says:

      Better than Pope?
      this comment needs to be flagged

      • Scott e Dio93 says:

        Onyewu dribbling pass Italy in under 20′s, Strong leadership vs Italy in 2006, holding against Spain 2009, USNT ran as Giant of region and his career in Europe.

    • BrianK says:

      Scott,

      Respectfully disagree. Eddie Pope is far and away the best USA defender ever.

      • Chris says:

        I think this guy just means in that one match vs. Italy

        • Scott e Dio93 says:

          I was fan this guy since youth teams, dribbling far back into the attack, back when Gooch was a rightback. Gooch was one few big guy could move into attack with skill, not much base on his size.

      • Mike R says:

        Not.

        He was just the best defender on a woeful starter up US side. Gooch in his prime woulda started over Pope in his prime. Boca in his prime would start over Pope also

        • BrianK says:

          Doubt it very much,…

        • BrianK says:

          “He was just the best defender on a woeful starter up US side.”

          What in God’s name does that mean? A team that went to the quarterfinals of the World Cup is what,….? A team with Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien, Landon Donovan, Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Tony Saneh, Clint Mathis, Ernie Stewart and Brian McBride was a “woeful starter up side.” Dude,….you just lost ALL credibility.

    • MikeG says:

      What about Tony Sanneh? He is right up there with Pope.

      • john says:

        Tony Sanneh had a brilliant ’02 World Cup, but was hardly a consistent performer for the USMNT.

      • BrianK says:

        Tony Sanneh played a fair amount of midfield too. He was a monster in Japan/Korea. Excellent player.

    • keithbabs79 says:

      You lost me at most skilled. I always cringed when he had the ball and 10 yards of space in front of him.

  25. Dennis says:

    Clearly Gooch has been less the player he was before tearing his patellar tendon. In 2010, Bradley kept him on the squad, probably on the basis of some medical fortune-telling that did not come true, even though he was obviously still favoring the knee in the Princeton training camp before SA, that and experience does count. Still despite what has been an heroic effort to return to his former form, it has not happened. I do not think any coach expected Gooch to suddenly become a guy who was confident playing the ball out of the back under pressure, but most coaches did recognize that he was an excellent destroyer, good in the air, a physical presence, capable of scoring off corners and able to concentrate the full 90 on defending without mental lapses. I don’t think any of them really hoped-for or expected more than that, but the hopes of that seemed to be a bit optimistic.
    Good luck to Gooch, I hope he can find a team where he can fit in and contribute.

  26. ajsthind says:

    This is a great move for Gooch. He needs to find a team where he can lock down a starting position (or at least be in the matchday 18). If it is MLS so be it. If he can find some of his old form, that may also mean more competition for a USMNT spot, which is also a very good thing.

  27. Josh says:

    My biggest complaint about Bob Bradley… We had already clinched WC Qualification, had nothing to gain by winning the group, yet he called in the A team. That game in DC, while wildly celebrated, cost us both Charlie Davies and Gooch. There is no way it was worth it, and someone with their eye on the bigger prize would have done it differently.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Putting aside respecting the integrity of the game, Bob Bradley in no way shape or form cost us Charlie Davies. Charlie Davis cost us Charlie Davis, no one else.

      • downintexas says:

        Guys get hurt. It sucks but Bob didn’t get him hurt.

        • josh says:

          No Bob didn’t get him hurt, and it isn’t his fault that Gooch was hurt. And yes, Charlie Davies is entirely to blame for his decisions, but… I just feel that a more seasoned coach in that sphere might have fielded a significantly different team. Getting caught up in winning the group was a little naive, and it cost us. The events of and around that game probably cost both CD and Gooch the fullest realization of their careers.

          And as to the integrity of the game, well… people have been resting starters in meaningless games since the dawn of sport.

      • CCJC says:

        Well said Tony. You can’t blame Coach Sweats for Chuck’s behavior. He derailed his own career.

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      I agree. No point using A team against desperate hacking team.

      Does Freddy Montero holds a Green Card? anybody knows?

      • andy in ohio says:

        Except for the fact that neither guy got “hacked”. Gooch’s knee went out jumping for a header, and Charlie Davies willingly got into a car with an intoxicated driver. Neither injury had anything to do with the sport, one was bad luck and another was a poor choice. I think the girl driving the car Davies was in is still in jail, right? And are you going to give the grass at RFK a red card? Neither was Bradley’s fault.

        • Scott e Dio93 says:

          Once qualified…you use B team or C team with bench and new players, not you’re elite players.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            And yet, coaches still schedule friendlies as often as they can and field many of their “A” team players. Why is that?

            Answer: because it’s really nice to log some minutes playing together as a team.

            Bradley made the right call. No amount of attempted hindsight will change that.

          • keithbabs79 says:

            I guess the coach should sit the A team at practice too… you know, just in case.

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Right, and if your C team gets injured, who will cover for the B team that is covering for the A team? Best to rest players all the way down to our Z team (in which case, I get the call-up).

          • Ted Drews says:

            The reason CD made such a poor decision was he was informed he was not going to be used during the game as we had already qualified.

            He was on the roster, he just had to show up and wear a vest.

    • Brain Guy says:

      I’ve heard lots of criticism of Bob Bradley, some fair and some not so fair, but this just sounds silly. Was he supposed to select a group of 23 entirely made up of guys who had no chance of making the 23 for the WC finals?

      • Original Aaron says:

        I don’t think it was meaningless. At the time we were trying to make sure we were seeded in the World Cup, and the thought was that winning our region was the best way to do that. Hindsight is always 20/20.

        • josh says:

          There was no opportunity for seeding. Winning CONCACAF doesn’t get you seeded, nor would have retroactively boosted our FIFA rankings (which does get you seeded) and we knew that at the time.

          And as to friendlies, keep in mind that both teams are playing a friendly in that circumstance. CR were playing for their WC lives.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            I agree that seeding is not the motivation. Playing time is. Team chemistry is.

            “CR were playing for their WC lives.” All the more reason to play the A team against them.

            Look, everyone knows that every time a player steps on the field—even warms up—he/she risks injury. That has to be weighed against the greater risk of NOT playing a player that then loses out on experience, team building, etc.; i.e., being so cautious that you never let the Ferrari out of the garage. If your starter is nursing an injury and you’ve already qualified, then okay he/she sits.

  28. MikeG says:

    I think he goes to a mid Dutch team…AZ?

  29. MiamiAl says:

    I dont know why everyone is acting like the Gooch has died here. The guy is still in the national team picture. He is an injury or two away for still being in the mix for Brasil. For a guy who hasn’t been playing for quite sometime, I though he looked decent enough in Gold Cup. He just needs to get with a team that can give him some playing time. MLS is a great spot for him at this moment in his career. I think he would be a high quality CB in MLS. DC United would be a natural fit.

    • H says:

      lets be honest..he’s way past it. He had that brilliant 09 Confed Cup tournament and its been downhill since then.

      He went to AC Milan and never played. And hasn’t played much since then.

      When he’s played for the national side he’s looked clumsy and slow.

      • keithbabs79 says:

        And the truth shall set you free!

      • Knuckles says:

        Holy cats, an honest assessment of Onyewu on any soccer site? I might actually die of shock. Even when he had it, the guy really wasn’t very good. I’ve never understood the US soccer fan’s obsession with the guy. He’s big and physical, but not particularly technical, creative or skilled. He’s decent enough for depth, I guess, but the USMNT pool is far deeper at that position than it’s been in years.

  30. Arlie says:

    Go back to belgium, they loved him there

  31. ThaDeuce says:

    MLS is a good idea,.

    • H says:

      the salary cap will likely prevent that. He’s not worth DP money and outside of the DP funds MLS teams have to stay under $3 million for the 20 other players on their roster.

      • ThaDeuce says:

        I think at this point it would be reasonable to take a big pay cut. Not sure he finds any team at last year’s wages. Probably not close to it.

  32. 242edq says:

    why did Bradley call in Gooch? We had just made it through qualification. Gooch was trying to get PT at AC MILAN. why call him in for the final match?

  33. Dan says:

    His injury while at AC Milan was an unfortunate event. However, this guy does not have a chance to start for the USMNT. He is good for a bunker system maybe with a coach like Mourinho. He does not fit in the current tactics.