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Onyewu Out Six Months

USA defender Oguchi Onyewu will be sidelined an estimated six months, longer than the three to four originally announced. Gooch had one-hour surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles for a torn patella tendon in his left knee, suffered in the World Cup qualifying finale against Costa Rica last week at RFK Stadium. The damage wasn't any worse than expected, but the updated timetable will keep him out of action until probably April, just two months before the start of the World Cup.

His best central partner, Jay DeMerit, is recovering from eye surgery and will return in a month or two. Carlos Bocanegra seems certain to take up full-time residence in central defense (as opposed to splitting time between left back and the middle), and the USA will lean on players such as Chad Marshall, Jimmy Conrad and Clarence Goodson for friendlies early next year.


By Steve Goff  |  October 22, 2009; 10:33 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Americans Abroad , U.S. men's national team  
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This is very troubling news. Gooch will be trying to get back into game fitness right as our national team should be gelling and firing on all cylinders in the run-up to the World Cup. In the span of 48 hours, the U.S. national team lost two of its top players ... a real setback to our hopes in South Africa.

Posted by: jofij | October 22, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

This is where we regret every second that Neven Subotic is not on our side........................

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | October 22, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Geez, if you had told me that at the end of the qualifying through CONCACAF that we'd be no.1 in the region but lose our best attacker and (arguably) best defender I would say we're doomed. This is where team spirit and discipline come into play. If we are to win anything in South Africa and not go 3 and out (AS USUAL) we need to improve in every aspect of the team. We need to defend better, hold the ball better in the midfield, and pepper the opposing goal in the attack. We are going to have to think outside the box and probably use defenders and attacker we have not relied on, or even used, during qualification. This type of thing can happen to any country but it is a shame it happened to the USA which is paper thin on the bench. Our top player are leaps and bounds better than our second option. Sad...

Posted by: elfelixg | October 22, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

First thought - what a shame for Gooch. The threat of not being at his best for the World Cup has got to be killing him.

Second thought - how about Milan work out a loan to an MLS club for the months of April and May? Could be a way for him to guaranty some match sharpness if and when he's ready.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 22, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse


Well, it's not like July is a month where KC will need Jimmy Conrad very much.

Posted by: Modibo | October 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Just wait til next year!!

uh, get well soon, Gooch. Good health is more important than soccer.

Posted by: forpat | October 22, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

show some fait folks. Gooch isn't going to miss the World Cup and my money is on him defying expectation and coming back a beast.
I've honestly had more worry about him wasting away on the bench in Milan. At least he's got a goal, and a lot on the line to do everything he can to get right. Not to mention an underlying hatred for these ridiculous Italians asking for the USSF to pay his salary.

It is a damn shame about Charlie, but he's not going. Hopefully Dempsey up top will do. Less farting around in mid-field should lead to less giveaways resulting in goals scored against right? Maybe he'll put a few more in the back of the net when needed too? Let's just hope he lays off the Durban Poison next summer.
Vamos Estados Unidos!

Posted by: DadRyan | October 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Conrad's a Gamer - don't mind having him in the mix. Things will be fine; Assuming no setbacks and that he can do some sort of conditioning work as part of the recovery that gives him a good chunk of time to get game fit before the cup.

Anyway, maybe someone will step up like Pablo did in 2002.

Posted by: hacksaw | October 22, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

god dang, i meant to type faith! and that loan idea sounds like a pretty good idea to me Kev29. Just wonder if the crooked powers that be in Italian football want Gooch to be on top of his game in SA...

Posted by: DadRyan | October 22, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

November, December (counting on fingers)... April. So, assuming all goes well, he can be ready for June.

I wonder if USSF will echo the past with a new commercial: I will have two surgeries.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 22, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Gooch on loan to his hometown club sounds really, really good.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 22, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Let's see what Goodson's got. He's a local Fairfax, VA guy and Maryland Alum. I've heard big things about this guy since High School. He might not be Gooch but he may work.

Posted by: Tacaraya | October 22, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This will give Gooch time to work on his upper-body strength.

Posted by: Reignking | October 22, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Actually, he grew up in Maryland and went to college at Clemson.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | October 22, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I read Goodson and thought Gooch.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | October 22, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

With so many midfielders (and few strong central defenders) in the USMNT mix, I'd like to see the team consider playing in a 3-5-2 formation. I think Bradley along with Edu and Jermaine Jones, if healthy, can make an impact as a trio of strong box-to-box players.

Posted by: BlacknRed5 | October 22, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

Posted by: jsm91 | October 22, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think Michael Orozco should get a look in central defense.

Posted by: DEFPOTEC1 | October 22, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

3-5-2 doesn't sound like a good idea for this team. It would put too much pressure on the wingers to defend that Donovan and Dempsey wouldn't be able to be themselves. Unless you're thinking about Donovan in more of a CAM role and something like Holden and Rogers on the wings?

Posted by: DCUMD | October 22, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I like Marshall. I think CB and Goodson are okay but both are pretty limited. All I ever see Bocanegra do anymore is back up off of attackers. I think he is a good, experienced player to have around for the squad, but I'd rather see us experiment with Edu, if he is fit, or find out if Omar Gonzalez has national team potential. Our backline is just okay even with Onyewu around. This team needs to focus on attacking more consistently, passing and possessing the ball better, and finding a finisher. Otherwise, our WC experience will look a lot like our last WC experience. We just cannot sit back and wait for teams to expose how reliant we are on Tim Howard to make up for a group of mediocre defensive players.

Posted by: rcdwriting | October 22, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

We'll be fine. Lots of options and plenty of time to work them into the mix. Gooch is going to have plenty of work to do to get back up to speed.

Parkhurst is out there too, but others mentioned would be my first replacements. Plus, we can always lean on Berhalter . . uh . .

Posted by: delantero | October 22, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Lots of options?

None of them worked against CONCACAF competition, how are they going to work in the World Cup against the world's "best" teams?

Our only hope is if someone steps in and has a miracle run, or DeMerrit and Gooch get healthy and fit.

Posted by: wanker82 | October 22, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Although the injuries to Davies, Demerit and Onyewu are setbacks, they still give US the opportunity to experiment- something Bob has been afraid to do. Dempsey will now get to play up top, a role he seems to put more effort into, and Holden/Torres/ Rodgers will get to play more. Our defense has had some major problems, so maybe trying out some new combinations will improve them. Lets really, really hope that Gooch is back in form for South Africa. We will need his height against some of the European teams.

Posted by: FriendlyGuy1 | October 22, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

DCUMD: With our depth at DM we could play one CB and 2 DMs without sacrificing anything offensively or defensively.


Donovan-----Bradley/Torres--- Holden/Rogers



I think this could be an effective lineup, possibly even having Jones sit farther back with Bradely and Torres above him. He'd essentially be playing a CB role just a little higher up the field. I also think this would help with our possession as the D will have someone close to them who is comfortable with the ball.
Bradley coached and Boca played this formation with the Fire, so it's not a foreign concept. Plus, we beat Mexico in WC2002 playing the 3-5-2. Just a thought.

Posted by: BlacknRed5 | October 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This is now Chad Marshall's time. He must prove he is capable of being a National Team starting center back.

I think he talented enough to do so, and consider him a better option than Conrad or Goodson. But he has to prove that a correct opinion by starting and playing well the next few months. I hope Bob gives him the opportunity.

Posted by: scott47a | October 22, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Good. Dbag Vieri officially calls it quits.

"I don't want to play anymore and I'm not even tempted to play abroad," the 36-year-old told reporters at a court case where he has accused former club Inter Milan of tapping his phone when he was player there at the start of the decade.

Posted by: Reignking | October 22, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: PEddy | October 22, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"'None of them worked against CONCACAF competition,""

You mean the competition where we finished tops of our group or the Gold Cup where we finished 2nd to Mexico with our "back ups."

DeMerit wasn't even in the starting line up until Bocanegra was injured. Seems like he did fine! The others will do fine too when given the chance.

Losing Gooch hurts, but he has plenty of weaknesses that others don't have.

Posted by: delantero | October 22, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Think Bradley is capable of thinking outside the box to solve problems in central defense? I'd like him to experiment with Clark, Edu, or even Jones (the German) in central defense. These are higher caliber players with international experience who otherwise might be hard-pressed to find a place in the line-up come June.

Posted by: adam1979 | October 22, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 22, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: UnitedDemon | October 22, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Namoff deserves a look.

Posted by: beergorila | October 22, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Namoff deserves a look.

Posted by: beergorila | October 22, 2009 1:26 PM

Sure, just remind us of another well-liked player out injured ;-)

Posted by: Kev29 | October 22, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Don't happy! We can't embarass ourselves any worse than Wynalda and Co. did in France! Four years ago wasn't too cool either but at least we'll have an excuse this time. Gooch and Jay get well. Chad's been okay and Goodson showed promise this past summer...everything happens for a reason!

Posted by: tim21 | October 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Namoff may not actually play soccer for a very long time, by the looks of things, so we better not pin our hopes on him. Conrad will do OK, as will Goodson. Edu might be a very good solution as well. Besides, didn't Gooch just get embarassed by some Ticos rigth before he got hurt?

As for going 3 and out, what's necessarily wrong with that? Better than not going at all. Croatia went 3 and out in Germany. Do they suck? I could watch that team play all day.

Posted by: loosek | October 22, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know AC Milan's PayPal address? I'll send a few bucks to the Gooch salary fund.

Posted by: icehippo | October 22, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that Gooch will not be anywhere near 100% at World Cup time. Coming off knee surgery, he's going to be a couple of steps slower, if that's even possible. And, the sharpness won't be there. He looked pretty horrible the last couple of games, as it was no? Imagine going almost a full year with no more than a handful of meaningful games... Still, he may be our best option. We'll have to see about DeMerit..and Edu might be needed in the midfield. Otherwise, he's sure to get a look at CB. I wouldn't completely rule out Orozco, either. A few more injuries and we might be looking at Bobby Boswell....

Posted by: fischy | October 22, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Any word on who paid for the surgery? Did Milan start a collection?

Posted by: i_like_tuesday | October 22, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Not the best night at the office for Tim Howard...

Benfica 5 - 0 Everton (Javier Saviola 83')

Posted by: Kev29 | October 22, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Clint Dempsey gets a rest (along with Damien Duff - so it seems orchestrated for the intl guys) tonight vs Roma. Eddie Johnson not in the 18.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, far you have sunk.

They give up a 90th minute goal to lose 2-1 after being a man up for 22.

Posted by: Reignking | October 22, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

On a completely different note.....

My wife was watching "What not to Wear" on TLC this week. The show was visiting a soccer fan in DC who wore nothing but DC United/soccer apparel. Small world...

Posted by: croftonpost | October 22, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

CSKA Moscow had fake grass at its stadium yesterday for a CL match?

UEFA CL is amateur!!!!

Posted by: Reignking | October 22, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

It will be surprising to see Gooch comeback 100%. He had struggled to get matches before the injury so I don't know how he would get any time next April. BB will still use him but he will likely only be a negatvie factor at the WC w/o much prep. Perhaps some of the other CB options will emerge to be solid as a rock and we won't worry about Gooch.

Posted by: euroman | October 22, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

CSKA Moscow had fake grass at its stadium yesterday for a CL match?

UEFA CL is amateur!!!!

Posted by: Reignking | October 22, 2009 3:31 PM

Ha! But do you think the big clubs in England and Spain don't scoff and whine about it?

Posted by: Kev29 | October 22, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The Davies story is really troubling me. We have all been pining for an exciting, dynamic speedy player like him. He bursts onto the scene and we're all thrilled to see it, and now he will miss the World Cup when we need him most.

But beyond that, what the heck was he doing at 3:00 AM on the GW Parkway!? A "one-car" accident means the driver ran off the road and hit the rail, and horribly, the other passenger freakin' died! It coulda been him. I believe in curfews for pro and college sports players.

Losing Davies entirely and Gooch 'till April is such bad news for us.

Posted by: WorldCup | October 22, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The news on Gooch is a shame. From a team standpoint, Bradley must be absolutely hard hearted in picking his squad and starters. A six month layoff caused by knee surgery and, at best, a two month conditioning period, does not do Gooch any favors. Just because you can play on the surgically repaired knee doesn't mean that you can play well or up to your former standards immediately. Rehab, both physical and mental, takes time.

Posted by: griffin1108 | October 22, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Any word on who paid for the surgery? Did Milan start a collection?

Posted by: i_like_tuesday | October 22, 2009 2:43 PM

My understanding is that teams dont pay for surgeries (or salaries) of injured soccer players. Insurance companies do. Insurance premiums can be pretty hefty, from what I hear. Perhaps US players have a different insurer cover them for games while representing the USSF? I doubt it

Posted by: juanma_carr | October 22, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

My only memories of Clarence Goodson are his 3 own goals in his last season with Dallas. I'm positive he's over that little setback. Right?

Posted by: vivzig | October 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse


I see where you're coming from, but there are some problems with that formation. First up, the only natural fit in the back three would be Bocanegra on the left. Since being an outside back in a three is a hybrid between being a center back and outside back in a four, this would put him in his natural spot. However, after that we'd really be grasping at straws to fill the other spots. In the middle, you'd have to start Conrad (who hasn't played that formation in years) or Parkhurst (I don't think too many of us would be comfortable starting him). On the right, you'd almost have to go with Spector. I suppose Goodson could also do the job, but again that's a situation where we'd be starting someone most would prefer as a reserve. Cherundolo and Bornstein, in this set up, would have to be outside midfielders. I know Preki has been playing Bornstein centrally, but that's been a bizarre experiment from the start.

In midfield, you can't just push Jones into an extremely deep role; that's not quite his game. Putting Donovan on the left would leave him with a lot of defensive work to do, which in turn would limit our best attacker's ability to get forward. On the other side, I'm not sure about Holden's ability to defend a flank on his own, while I'm absolutely sure that Rogers can't do it.

We did play a 3412 against Mexico, but it was a very specific situation. Mexico was playing a 3142, and Arena basically turned everyone in midfield into a man-marker (Donovan did an interview talking about how his #1 task at "attacking midfield" was actually to mark Torrado wherever he went). It was a horses-for-courses kind of situation; a specific tactic for a specific opponent. If I'm not mistaken, we also had some center back issues that forced us to use Hejduk on the right of that day's back three (something normally to be avoided at all costs).


There's outside the box, and then there's Clark or Jones as center back. They aren't cut out for that role. Clark would be a particularly poor fit, since his primary talent is the ability to cover a ton of ground. A center back can't be running around all over the place, and that's what Clark is best at. Using him as a center back would take away his best skill while simultaneously leaving us with a starter in a position they are not at all suited for.


I still say the time of night he was out is totally irrelevant. You can get into a car accident at any time of day. My only accident (also a one-car event) happened at around 1:30pm on a Sunday. Should I have been in my home instead? If Davies had been in an accident coming back from dinner at 8pm, would it be an issue at all? Would we be criticizing his choice of restaurant? After all, he'd have never gotten into an accident on Street A if he had gone across town to some other eatery, right?

Going on about the curfew violation is failing to see the forest for the trees.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | October 22, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else curious about Pontius up top with the Nats in the upcoming winter friendlies?

Posted by: alecw81 | October 22, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

DeMerit and Bocanegra are the starters, in absence of Gooch. Easy. DeMerit only had cornea surgery. He'll be fine.

Gooch will be fine if he gets two months of playing time before the World Cup. That means he needs to be loaned out somewhere . . back to Liege, Serie B, who cares?!

Hear that chicken littles!!

And Marshall, Conrad or Parkhurst would be fine as backups with Hejduk or Dolo at Right.

Holden should start too, because we need Donovan's speed in the middle.

That would leave putting Dempsey up top with Jozy. We'll miss Davies' speed, but we'll still compete . . and it shouldn't matter who is in our group for that matter.

Posted by: delantero | October 22, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Not to pile on, but for those who keep questioning what Davies was doing out late, what boring corner of the universe did you grow up in? Never stayed out late with some ladies on a school night?

I also have heard a rumor that he had permission to shine the curfew as he was already injured and wasn't slated to play.
I know a great deal of us in our older age would probably rather stay home and watch Dancing with the Stars, but I doubt that describes Charlie.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 22, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but:

The Jablotech Marithon match is underway. 0-0 according to

Does anybody see a link to watch the game? FYI: The usual suspects Justin, Rojo Directa and ATDHE.Net don't list it.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Umm, Marithon scored!

Anybody else monitoring this match?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Jabloteh responded ... 1-1!

Posted by: beergorila | October 22, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: redskinsux | October 22, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Sh*t!!! I thought Jabloteh scored. The quality of the feed makes it really hard to tell the difference in the teams!

Marathon up 2-1. =(

Posted by: redskinsux | October 22, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Damn you Maricon. Now we need another goal from Joe-Blow-Tech. BTW Goats and the Tire-Fire still nil-nil!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Video feed for Joe-Blow & Mericon sucks. (Pardon the puns) Are your feeds decent?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

That should do it for DC United in the Champs League eh? Mericon 3 Joe-Blow 1.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Umm, Chivas just headed into their own net... Tire-Fire 1, Goats 0.
Not getting any help tonight.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 22, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse


4-2, Marathon is victorious.

Posted by: redskinsux | October 22, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot Janicki!

Posted by: redskinsux | October 22, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Loss of the Gooch shows how thin the USMNT squad is in the back. No need to worry, coach Bradley will find a tall solid middle defender who'll get to the head balls and move out the opposing attackers and kick the ball out of play as safety first and nothing more matters. Why have you gone away Neven Subotic who at his tender age and experience is a proven defender and footballer.

Posted by: juke2 | October 22, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Everyone give up on the Subotic oh woe is me stuff. The kid was a refugee from a horrible civil war who spent a few years in the U.S. For the U.S. to lay a "claim" on him is silly beyond belief. Subotic always was European and the big issue was what European country he would pick.

Posted by: griffin1108 | October 23, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

amen to that griffin1108.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 23, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

What about Torres up top with Altidore? Seems to me that Davies biggest asset was his speed, something that Torres has. Altidore is already a big body with muscle and size. Davies complimented him well by adding another dimension, something that Torres could do.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | October 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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