One striking element during the last round of U.S. World Cup qualifiers was the lack of talk of a certain big fellow who once manned the American back line.
With Geoff Cameron not putting in his best work, and with Carlos Bocanegra showing his age, we talked a lot about center back. And we talked about men in the pipeline who might fill the seemingly growing void, guys like Omar Gonzalez or Tim Ream.
There was even some chatter about Jay DeMerit. And why not? At 32 years old, he is a year younger than Bocanegra and standing quite tall this year for Vancouver.
But there was little (Or no?) mention of Oguchi Onyewu, the U.S. starter for Bob Bradley at South Africa 2010.
And Onyewu says in this piece, that’s as it should be – although he’s free from injuries and hopeful that changes going forward. What he just told Reuters:
Right now I’m not in the mix and rightfully so. … I think you need to take things in their proper order and my main focus is Malaga and concentrating here on getting the playing time I’m working for. … Once that all comes to realization everything else should fall into place.
“He [U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann] expressed his delight in terms of me putting myself in a good position despite everything that went down in Lisbon. … I’m not too worried about it but first things first. I have to take care of business here.”
At 30, there’s time for Onyewu to put together another run at national team grace. With Bocanegra in potential decline, the opportunity is certainly possible.
And with Málaga now in Champions League action, he’s got a chance to get back into games at the highest possible level.