Report: Onyewu set to make QPR debut on Saturday

Oguchi Onyewu

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Only days after signing a contract with Queens Park Rangers, manager Harry Redknapp is ready to hand defender Oguchi Onyewu his debut on Saturday.

According to QPRs website, Onyweu is included in the team squad that’s heading to Burnley for a top of the table clash on Saturday. The Hoops sit two points behind Burnley with 27 points from 11 games, though they do have a game in hand on Burnley.

“Oguchi has been training with us for a few weeks,” Redknapp said on QPR’s website. “He’s done well. He’s a fantastic lad with a great attitude.”

The American international had been without a club since parting ways with Sporting Lisbon in August. In addition, Redknapp said at his pre-match press conference that U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke with him on the phone about Onyewu’s international future.

“Jurgen Klinsmann rung me about him, to recommend him,” Redknapp said. “He said he’s probably, almost certainly going to be in his squad for the World Cup. And really he’s a big fan of his. He likes him very much.”

Since suffering a torn patella tendon in his right knee in 2009, Onyewu has struggled to find a regular place at a club, playing in a total of 54 games in the last four years for AC Milan, FC Twente, Sporting Lisbon, and Malaga. The 68-time capped USMNT defender is desperate to regain his place in the national team after positive performances in the last nine months from Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler.

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What do you think of these developments? Excited to see how Onyewu does in the Championship? Do you see him helping QPR obtain promotion? Do you see him receiving regular playing time under Redknapp?

Share your thoughts below.

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58 Responses to Report: Onyewu set to make QPR debut on Saturday

  1. Mikebsiu says:

    Going to be in the squad for the World Cup?

  2. Colin in MT says:

    Happy for Gooch.

    Do I think JK told Harry Gooch is almost certainly going to be on the WC squad? No. But the more guys we have playing the better.

  3. John says:

    So what is the current CB depth chart? Gonzalez, Besler, Cameron, Goodson, Brooks, ???

  4. blokhin says:

    as much as I do not trust anything coming from ole ‘Arry, if Gooch gets 20-25 games of playing time between now and then, why would he not be a better option than Orozco, Goodson and even OG for the USMNT?

    Gooch hasn’t looked good in years because he hasn’t played consistently – the same can be said about Beasley, who has been written off multiple times to come back and be a viable contributor at a position of need.

    Gooch has played in two world cups and the best leagues in the world-that doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near that level today, or was good enough for AC Milan in the first place, but he’s got more upside between today and his previous form than most of our CB options…

    Too old? he’s the same age as Goodson
    Too slow? Same with OG, Goodson and maybe even Besler

    Given that there are no “world-class” options for the USMNT at CB and the lack of Internaitonal experience (ex-CONCACAF) I’d say Gooch has a shot to make it if his body holds up and the rust is shaken off

    Too old? he’s the same age as Goodson

    • jones says:

      yeah, rust for sure.

      The few times I’ve seen him play in the past year or so he’s looked tentative and nervous – the biggest thing he needs back in his game is the confidence and fitness from regular playing time. His quality/skill is still there and will show once he has the other part back.

    • WK says:

      You discount Goodson much too easily and quickly. Recall that SJ has the best record/team defense since he joined. Arguably better/more consistent performances than either Omar or Matt over the same period. And the first call JK made for the mexico match when Omar couldnt go was to Clarence. I love the Gooch but he’s got a ways to go before he passes Clarence again.

    • dude says:

      It’s not so much his quality at CB (which he’s shown at the past) as much as career trajectory and injuries. Maybe Gooch comes back better than ever, but he’d legitimately have to return to his old form to diplace any of our top three, especially since chemistry between CB’s is a factor. He’s never played with Gonzalez or Besler, one of whom will be starting, at least.

      I’d love to see Gooch force his way back on the squad, but right now, he’d be competing with JAB for a roster spot, not Goodson, Besler, and Gonzalez.

    • patrick says:

      the USMNT teams that Gooch last played with consistently, are no longer the same teams that play now. We’d like our centerback to be able to pass/play out of the back, and that’s something Gooch has always, ALWAYS struggled with. He made his name with his physical presence, and that is slowly slipping away from him. Add to that that he has very little, if any familiarity with the other CBs, and you can start to understand why he hasn’t been considered a likely world cup team member. It’s not to say he can’t, but he would have to actively PASS the other CB’s in the pool to make the team, and I’m just not sure if there is enough time for him to do so.

    • Yevgeniy says:

      Blokhin, I am just curious – do you have a favorite MLS team?

  5. Tiny says:

    He meant Gold Cup squad

  6. SamInMaine says:

    Checking out the QPR center back depth chart, Gooch should stand a chance to start the rest of the season. He’s up against an (old) Richard Dunne, (laughable) Clint Hill and (inconsistent) Nedum Onuoha. I have a good feeling about this —I have always had a lot of respect for Harry.

    • Al_OC says:

      And yet, they are 2nd in the Championship. So, I doubt Harry will tinker with his lineup that much unless there’s an injury or the CBs don’t perform well. With that said, I really hope Gooch can grab the starting spot.

  7. 2tone says:

    Good to hear. More CB’s playing means more competition for the USMNT. May the best CB’s win.

  8. Brian says:

    I’m glad to see him with a club where he has a chance to get minutes. Regardless of his USMNT status, it is great seeing Americans representing in foreign leagues.

  9. Ilya says:

    Gooch – is one of the most overrated players in the US history and Omar Gonzalez is the most overrated player for the last couple of years.

    • GOYA-GOYA says:

      Why don’t you ask all of the strikers Omar has stoned since turning pro if they agree.

    • John says:

      LA looked pretty good last night without Omar

    • Don Pelayo says:

      I would disagree with this statement completely. I detect a bias against defenders whose strengths lie in physical play and aerial challenges. Both Gooch and Gonzalez have the ability to dominate a game on the defensive side.

    • James says:

      This is absurd. Gooch was a the US’ best defender for several years. AC Milan didn’t sign him as PR stunt, the guy was a beast.

      • Ilya says:

        How many games he played for Milan?

      • Scott says:

        I watched, in person, his 1st game with ACM. It was very obvious that he was on a different level from every other player on both teams. And it wasn’t a higher level. ACM probably thought the same thing as he rarely saw the bench, let alone the field, again. He doesn’t fit the passing out of the back game that we have transitioned to under JK. While he may be dominant in the air, the good teams will just take it around him on the ground. You need an all around CB, not just a beast in the air that is otherwise stiff and immobile.

  10. MikeG says:

    Lift weights Gooch. Not too heavy. Keep stretching and working the weights…even in season…protect those tendons and joints.

  11. Tony says:

    I’d have it something like this:

    2009 Confed Cup Gooch is better than any of our current center backs. I don’t think AC Milan is really scouting any of our current group.

    2013 Gooch is maybe 6th or 7th on the depth chart (Besler, Omar, Goodson, Brooks, Orozco, with Cameron in there somewhere depending on where they use him).

    2014 Gooch, playing regularly and staying injury free (yes, huge assumption) has a chance to break into the top 4, but will almost certainly not get back to the level of 2009.

  12. crosebud says:

    I like Gooch very much. However I don’t really undersand how he is probbaly going to Brazil if he gets minutes in the Championship while guys who already play well week in week out for their Championship sides don’t even get called to camps. I’m thinking specifically about Lichaj, Ream, and Spector.

    • MikeG says:

      Lichaj, Ream, Spector, and Gooch. If all are healthy and fit to go to the World Cup you pick Gooch. He’s been there and done that. Gooch will have the mental edge given all other things equal. Klinnsman and other players and coaches here know that. It’s not a popularity contest at the World Cup. ITS A TOURNAMENT.

      • Dos says:

        “Been there, done that” doesn’t count if you didn’t do a good job when you were “there”

      • PTM9 says:

        Spector was in South Africa, too. #justsayin

      • Philly Union Rule says:

        You are drunk. Lichaj and spector have been more consistent over the last 3 years. Mental edge, maybe. But this isn’t chess. How well did gooch do the last couple of runs with the nats??? Remember the Brazil friendly? He looked like the soccer ball was a grenade with the pin pulled. Couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

        gooch was great when AC Milan signed him, my favorite player for the nats. Since, unfortunately he s not who we remember…

  13. any says:

    Guys the whole “going to be in Brazil” is a PR thing. QPR are using it for solid positive PR

    don’t read much into it

    • PTM9 says:

      Only way Gooch goes to Brasil is if we get drawn with Sweden, so he can give another beat down to Zlatan. Don’t get me wrong, I like Gooch, and wish him all the best, but he’s older with bad knees. It’s possible, but not probable.

    • JLeo07 says:

      Agreed. We/Kinzy haven’t seen Gooch play in ages. He was a great player to have on our back line years ago, but these injuries have all but wiped the former Gooch out of the picture. There are other guys on the squad that have earned a spot on the bench. Gooch and Dolo (while we’re on the subject) would have to feature and play well on the USMNT for quite a few matches in order to punch a ticket to Brazil. It’s actually quite annoying that Redknapp would even bring him up in this capacity. We’re all hopeful, but lets get back to reality. PS I wish Gooch lots of luck and if he gets back to form I will be first to applaud.

  14. Don Pelayo says:

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!

    • Don Pelayo says:

      Now that I’ve actually read the article, it’s fantastic to hear such high praise from both Harry and Jurgen for Onyewu. We have had players who start regularly in the League Championship excel at the international level (Demerit comes to mind), so this could be a great move for Gooch and the USMNT. I’m not sure an in-form Gooch is better than Gonzalez right now, but if Gonzalez starts to play poorly or becomes injured Gooch is the perfect replacement. What a beast. What…a…beast.

      • AlexH says:

        I hope Gooch does well but lets see how well his body holds up after week in and week out play. That said, he seems to be getting off to a good start.

  15. bryan says:

    awesome to hear. big Gooch fan. keep on hatin, haters.

  16. Dennis says:

    Gooch was really unfortunate to suffer such a bad injury before the 2010 WC. It was clear at that time his mobility was way less than previous to the injury. What he can bring to the team when he is healthy is unique, none of the other backs have the physical presence, ability to win nearly every aerial battle and ability to concentrate the whole 90 minutes with none of those little lapses that can cost defenders dearly. That said, if he has not regained the ability to move unhampered by the injury, he will struggle. I don’t think it will be rocket science to tell, performance over the next few months will be the arbitrar.

  17. Falsify says:

    Klinnsman is quite the sales man. Really though that’s great news hearing Klinnsman work for Gooch and give such praise. I think people should settle down, gooch probably won’t go to the world cup but what he has done is put himself in a position to where he can get consistant minutes against good competition. After consistent performances people will be forced to re-asses.

  18. Darwin says:

    A QPR team under Redknapp beats most MLS teams 9 out of 10 times. And most of our WC centerbacks are on those teams.

    • LIl' Zeke says:

      WTF..?

    • GW says:

      What is fascinating is reading the comments of those who are so violently against the idea of anyone saying Gooch might actually get to Brazil with the US.

      It costing the US nothing for JK to be so supportive of Gooch’s chances. Don’t think future dual national recruits haven’t noticed. Treating people well is a good recruitment tool, even if Boca may not agree that JK is so supportive.

      Whatever the probability is that Gooch can get back into the WC squad the fact is Redknapp is considered to have a good eye for the “older player bargain”.

      I doubt Gooch is costing him an arm and a leg. And Harry is the same guy who brought Brad Freidel and Ryan Nelsen back to Spurs and then took Nelsen to QPR, where he did reasonably well. So Harry has bought older center halves with knee problems before.
      Most likely Gooch will be a very useful squad player for QPR filling the role ironically vacated by Ryan Nelsen when he left for Toronto FC.

      Whether that is good enough for JK remains to be seen, playing for Harry beats sitting on the bench anywhere else..

  19. James says:

    Gooch should play sweeper in a 1-3-2-4 formation. We just need him in the back with Beasley and Castillo out wide and Beckerman in front of them. Then put Johansson and Bradley in the midfield and put Donovan, Dempsey, Josmer Altidore, and Wondolowski up top. There’s no way we’d lose with that line-up.

  20. Ah says:

    Nice of Klinsman to tell a little white lie there to help get Onyewu on the field. Hope he makes the most of it (but he’d better not really be going to Brazil.

  21. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Just want the best for Gooch; he’s *given* his best for USMNT. Good luck, buddy.