A Week in – Oguchi Onyewu’s progress with European Giants AC Milan

AC Milan v Chelsea FC

So with a week in the squad and a little more than 100+ minutes played, how does new American CB Oguchi Onyewu stack up at AC Milan? Not well if you talk to many supporters across the World Wide Web and abroad. I have heard things about his pace, his lack of skill, and even his touch on the ball. I will tell you this. Gooch is a Centerback and not a Fullback or Midfielder, so his touch on the ball and his pace are not something he is known for. And for those who say he lacks skill on defense, go back and watch him over his career, and most recently in the Confederations Cup before you make yourself look more ridiculous than you already do.
Gooch is a strong defender who has had two foul ups since stepping on the field with AC Milan, but does that all of a sudden make him horrible and unable to defend? I think not. The club he has joined in Milan has many other things to worry about aside from their defense. They are lacking up top with the young Brazilian Pato and aging Inzaghi as their main attacking threats, and after selling Kaka they are going to be dependant on Ronaldinho, who may or may not regain his status as a world great in the near future. The team is aging in Milan and it is looking like it might take some time for them to euthanize the side for the future, but one defender is not much to worry about going forward.
Gooch started with a blunder, allowing a forward from Club America behind him to put home a goal in a scoreless match, but it was not an easy finish and Gooch straightened up and finished the match out strong for Milan. In his second match with the side he came on some time into the second half, replacing the veteran Nesta again, and played strong in a losing effort against a Chelsea side that looks to be in good form already going into the season. Then the most recent match for Gooch, the unofficial Milan Derby, one which saw the sides face off on American soil. The early goal scored by Diego Milito was partially Gooch’s fault for not closing down closer to the forward, but having already dealt with one cutback, who can blame him for staying back and expecting another for a better angle on goal. Milito fired a rocket from a tight angle and I put more blame on Milan keeper Kalac for not covering his near post than I do on Gooch for not closing down, the inside post is not something you give up and Kalac left a gaping hole there for the forward to put one past him. The rest of the match for Gooch went off well and he made many great clearances from the back and looked fine in my opinion.
Bottom line is Gooch has had a rough start to his Milan career. This is the biggest club he or any other American has played for, aside from Tim Howard at Manchester United. He will get his bearings with his new side, and defending against some of the best in the world is not something he is new at. He has played with the USMNT for years now against some of the top players in the world. In the last year alone he has faced the players from England, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. In these matches the U.S. defense did get beat from time to time, but what other side in the world doesn’t, even with some of the world’s best in defense. Gooch is new at the club, working out the language, and getting used to new teammates and coaching. His time at Milan will not be short in my opinion, and I hope none of you have written him off either. He will benefit from his time at Milan and the only thing I can see beyond the experience paying off for his own career is that of which he will bring into the USMNT squad in the future. So do not write the big man off yet, let him have some time to find his feet and I think you will be just as surprised at his play as you were about his signing. Good things will come, so do not write him off quite yet, this is the kind of thing we as American soccer supporters have been asking for is it not? An American abroad who can make it at a big club is no longer a fairy tale but reality instead.

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Filed under International Football, Serie A, Uncategorized, USMNT

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