The chances of Oguchi Onyewu squeezing his way into Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man World Cup roster have never been good, and they dwindle by the day as the big defender languishes on the bench at Queens Park Rangers.
But you do have to admire the man’s spunk and ambition; he’s not giving up.
Onyewu just told the Washington Post’s Steven Goff that, when it comes to finding a club and getting his career pointed north again, his priority remains getting into place where he can get minutes, regain game sharpness and somehow find a way onto that roster.
What he said to Goff when asked about his deal with QPR, where he has yet to play in a match (although he did tell Goff about playing 90 minutes in a friendly last week):
[The contract is] just until the end of January. There can be an extension, but my main objective this season is to put myself in a position where I can compete to travel to the World Cup with the U.S. team. I feel as though, physically, there is nothing that would prevent me from that. It’s a matter of finding a situation where I can find the minutes I need. Hopefully, the situation can turn in my favor in the coming weeks and I will have the opportunity to prove my worth to this team. That’s what I am hoping, and then to maintain it through the end of the season.”
Wishful thinking (on the USMNT bid)? Probably so.
Onyewu never looked like a Klinsmann guy, someone who could stop and distribute. His passing and ability to simultaneously win the ball and direct it do a teammate simply isn’t good enough.
Even if it was, the big fellow has simply been lapped by too many younger defenders at this point, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler most notably. Others, like Clarence Goodson, are well ahead of Onyewu at this point, considering that trust and a history of “being there” is clearly critical in Klinsmann’s evaluations. Even young John Brooks (far more nimble than Onyewu, although hardly as experienced) is ahead at this point. So is utility tool Geoff Cameron.
If Onyewu has a little scrap of hope it is this: If he isn’t going to re-sign with QPR, perhaps Onyewu can get released early enough to participate in Klinsmann’s January camp. There, if he looks good, maybe he can get into an MLS camp and be signed here. (Remember, by the way, Seattle has that No. 2 allocation ranking, and still needs to shore up its center back spot alongside newly acquired Chad Marshall.)