Oguchi Onyewu: The veteran mentor that the Union need

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Last season the Union rotated between two rookie center backs. Josh Yaro, and Ken Tribbett, were thrown into the fire in 2016. With no veteran help, the rookies were told to hold down defenders like Kaka, David Villa and Giovinco. Most of the time, they did a good job, other times they looked like rookies; completely lost. They lacked a veteran center back, who could teach the young players and could come in and help when injuries struck. The 2017 preseason opened with a special guest, veteran USMNT center back Oguchi Onyewu. His presence was felt, and a week after he came to Philadelphia as a guest, he signed a contract with the Union.

Onyewu was not brought in by the Union to be a starting center back for all of the 2017 season. He is what the Union need, a back up to Josh Yaro and Richie Marquez. His job will be to come into games where one of the Union’s youthful center backs goes down with an injury. Think of Onyewu as a player who can come in and play 8-10 games a season. He gives the Union coverage at a spot where they needed a veteran presence. Even though he wont play the majority of the season, Gooch should have a huge impact on this team.

Gooch is an experienced player. He has had 69 caps with the USMNT, playing in two World Cups for USA (2006 & 2010). His experience with the national team can help groom the young center backs the Union have for a successful future. Marquez, and Trusty are young American center backs, having a USMNT center back legend like Gooch to learn from should help them progress. Onyewu brings a boat load of other experience to this team as well.

Oguchi has played for 12 different European clubs over the past 11 years. He’s won Belgian league championship twice; he’s also played in the Premier League, La Liga, Seria A and the Champions league. His international experience is something he will bring to this club. It will help his teammates, and the club. If he’s called upon in a big spot, he will be able to perform. The Union have lacked a defensive leader, with the type of experience Gooch has. He will be able to come into this side, and truly give the back line some leadership, whether he’s on the field or not.

Gooch is truly happy to be here. He has never played in MLS, and now has the opportunity to do so, and be a mentor for a team that has good young center backs. If he can play well when called upon, and can also show the youngsters the tips to the trade, then his time in Philly will be a success. This is a great signing for the Union, but only time will tell how great it truly is.

Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union preseason news! Until then, peace out Union fans!

 

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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