Onyewu needs knee surgery, out two months

Onyewu (Reuters Pictures)

Oguchi Onyewu's comeback season with Sporting Lisbon has encountered a massive setback.

Onyewu suffered a torn ligament and meniscus in his right knee and requires surgery that will keep him out of action for two months, according to Sporting Lisbon's official website. The injured knee is not the same one that he injured in 2009, when he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee in a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium.

Onyewu suffered his latest injury in Sporting's victory over Pacos de Ferreira over the weekend, needing to be substituted off after 27 minutes. He had been enjoying a resurgence at Sporting after a failed and injury-altered stint at AC Milan and a loan spell at FC Twente in recent years. In addition to rediscovering his defensive form, Onyewu had recaptured his athleticism and scored five goals this season, emerging as a top aerial threat off set pieces.

The injury will prevent Onyewu for playing for the U.S. national team in next week's friendly against Italy, where he was a good bet to start in central defense. Instead, his absence leaves Jurgen Klinsmann with a gaping hole at the position.

Should the two-month timetable hold, Onyewu would be back in action ahead of the May and June friendlies against Scotland, Brazil and Canada and the beginning of 2014 World Cup qualifying.


What do you think of this development? Which centerbacks do you think should go to Italy?

Share your thoughts below.

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78 Responses to Onyewu needs knee surgery, out two months

  1. DeLarge says:

    Awesome. Damnit.

  2. B says:

    F***beans. Poor Gooch

    Calling Zak Whitbread and Clarence Goodson…

  3. The Dude says:

    Bad luck for Onyewu.

    Well, we can’t call in Gonzo and Ream is just getting settled. Maybe Cameron?

  4. blaise213 says:

    Too bad for Gooch. Hope he has a quick recovery!

    Italy replacement: George John

  5. leftcoastmetro says:

    Aye, Cameron. Trial by fire, but the guy’s cool-headed and we’re not really expecting to hold the Azzurri scoreless.

  6. Jamie Z. says:

    Poor guy can’t catch a break.

  7. Tony in Quakeland says:


  8. Sam says:

    oooooh no!

  9. camjam says:

    I’m not well-versed in Knee Injuries, but what ligament can you tear that only takes 2 months to heal? I’ve heard of a torn meniscus being able to heal in that time, but combo’d with a ligament, that time table seems pretty fast

  10. SD says:


  11. NE Matt says:

    I’d rather he not get injured at all, but if he had to get injured, the time is now. I say that because if Gooch’s and Holden’s recovery timetables hold, they may be back to match fitness by the time the important games start in June. Now wouldn’t that be a sight for sore eyes.

  12. Kash says:

    Cameron for sure, he has better talent than Gonzo and Ream. Every time Ream puts the shirt on I feel like we are going to loose, he has been turned and burned a lot. Cameron has a skill set, only otherr one would be Goodson.

  13. chris says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO time to call up John

  14. away goals says:

    Such a tough break. Guy was dead and buried to most usmnt fans after south africa. Now it’s hard to imagine finding a worthy replacment.

    Maybe we’ll see williams given a run out at center back since he’s not a winger and we have holding/central mids to spare.

  15. Kash says:

    … otherwise Gooch all the way…

  16. ImaGoalMan says:


  17. This sucks! At least it is not the same knee and it doesn’t sound nearly as serious. I hope he is back in time for qualifying.

  18. wilyboy says:

    Feel terrible for Gooch.

    Helly, I feel bad for Klinsmann. He finally had one reliable option at centerback.

    Without Holden and Gooch healthy, the US can’t play their best.

  19. wilyboy says:

    To clarify, Boca is steady, but counting on him for 2014 gives me nightmares. We need a starting tandem that doesn’t include him to be secure.

  20. jon says:

    that’s what i was going to say

  21. Award says:

    Uhm no. Geoff Cameron. John isn’t even playing first team ball. He will get his chance one day but that day is not against Italy.

  22. ElMetrofan says:

    Call up Keel. The Italians will not stop stop staring at his hair.

  23. ac says:

    Ream is better than Cameron. He is in the EPL whereas Cameron is still in MLS and has not gotten any looks from european clubs yet.

  24. PD says:

    well this is a slap in the luvhandles….

  25. TomG says:

    A canyon sized window just opened up for Zak Whitbread if he can bounce back quickly from his hammy injury. Cameron might also have a shot at starting, but Klinsi has been notoriously skeptical of MLS defenders and he is a bit more of a finesse CB than Whitbread, so I can’t imagine anyone else being considered for this role. Goodson, Parkhurst and Cameron are also on break now, so we may even see Williams at CB since he’s played there a little recently. It’s a real quandary if Zak isn’t healthy.

  26. Award says:

    That sucks. I was really looking forward to seeing gooch back int he USMNT starting 11. Well as is that leaves Cameron, Ream, Boca, and Goodson. Don’t bring up George Jouhn he isn’t playing first team ball. More than likely I see Cameron, Boca, and Goodson getting called in, and D.Williams called in for CB as well. Hope he is back before qualifying, but at least the USMNT will have options goign FWD now that Ream is set to be getting significant minutes at CB for Bolton, Whitbread will back in a few weeks, D.Williams has been starting and playing RCb for Hoffenheim, Boca is still steady and Cameron will be starting for Houston. But Gooch was hitting his stride again. It seems every time the USMNT seems to be getting everyone back one memeber gets hit with an injury.

  27. THomas says:

    Greeeeeeeeeat…just when you think it’s coming together.

  28. AC says:

    Man, Gooch must have some sort of curse or something….Hope he heals quickly.

  29. Felix says:

    George John isn’t even making the bench for West Ham whose in the second division – who are these people clamoring for him to get called up?!?!?!

    I agree with the Geoff Cameron sentiment though. Good skill on the ball, athletic, has good pace for a big man, just needs more time playing the position since he’s spent so much of his career playing all over the pitch.

    I think the last Gold Cup exposed the limitation of Clay Goodson. I’m intrigued with Michael Parkhurst as a partner for Bocanegra, but he seems to struggle with big center forwards.

  30. sean says:

    If it’s an MCL or LCL it wouldn’t take too long to return. However, the only ligament injury I’ve ever heard of needing surgery is the ACL. If seen athletes continue to play after tearing the other three (MCL, LCL, PCL) after simple rest and therapy-no surgery.

  31. away goals says:

    That’s how it will always be. The percentages don’t favor a fully healthy national squad for any single match date.

    That’s why playing the “where will holden fit?” game is such a fruitless exercise. The team won’t look the same a month from now. Who knows what it will look like when (if?) holden regains his fitness/form.

  32. strider says:

    DId you happen to notice that Ream made Team of the Week on Soccernet for the FA Cup matches this past weekend in England? Maybe he can develop into something.

  33. southern says:

    This is correct to the best of my knowledge. The surgery would most likely be to repair the torn meniscus, which is fairly common and does not require a lengthy recovery period.

  34. Rlw2020 says:

    Noooooooo! Not again. The cb depth chart is very thin withput him.. Id call boca, williams, edu, goodson and parky for cb’s. Cameron is an option over goodson if he is in form and ream/john eventually over parky but not now. With a crowded midfield williams or edu should try to take a spot in the back.

  35. blaise213 says:

    Im cool with Cameron, maybe both will get a call!

  36. Rlw2020 says:

    +1 will we ever be at our “best”

  37. The Imperative Voice says:

    It’s not a complicated process of elimination. I would assume Cameron and Goodson get called up one to start one to back up, alongside Boca. Whitbread might have been poised to get a look but he’s hurt, re-aggravated the same hammy that’s held him out on and off all season, and he likely won’t get called up to risk re-injury. Gonzo is out with the knee. Parkhurst looked inferior. I can’t see them handing John both a first cap and his first big game in months against Italy. Orozco blew his chance. So Cameron = right place at right time.

    I’m a Gooch fan because physical dominance is a useful quality in a back, but you start to wonder if his build means he’ll be fighting injuries as his career progresses. Lot of mass, his style is “banger.” That accumulates IMO.

  38. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Two more injuries to the backline and I’ll be waiting by my phone for Klinsi’s call.

  39. Mike Vann says:

    I’ve done this to both knees. It’s painful. It sucks. But the silver lining is that in 8-10 weeks you are at or near full strength. you should not have any long term problems. The timing of this injury sucks for club and country. I feel for Gooch. However, while classified as “major” this could be much, much worse. All in all a good rehab and the knee will be just fine

  40. That is just nonsense. As far as you know he hadn’t had any interest from any European clubs. Ream hasn’t played one minute in the EPL. He had a solid outing in the FA Cup against a championship team. Not sure how you can say Ream is better just because he is in the EPL.

  41. Goalscorer24 says:

    Crap, who is going to fill that whole? I guess the good part is it will force our hand to get someone to step up, as Gooch is not getting any younger.

  42. Air Jordanz says:

    Whitbread is also injured. Not as serious as Gooch, but he’s made of glass.

  43. Air Jordanz says:

    We’re not as shallow there as might be thought. Depth probably goes like this (based on form, availability, medical status, and the fact that a player who’s never been capped for the USMNT will NOT debut there against Italy):

    D.Williams/J.Spector (two swiss army knife style players)
    Orozco Fiscal

  44. Air Jordanz says:

    It wouldn’t be a bad time for a trial by fire for Cameron since Italy’s first choice attacking corps is dealing with injury problems, too.

  45. Spencer says:

    it’s definitely not the ACL, like the other poster said it the surgery would be for the meniscus. You have to think recovery and getting match fit are all included in the 2 months

  46. Kash says:

    Yeah I noticed and I hope he does but every time he gets on the national team stage he has a poor showing in a position that we need a strong, consistent player at. Soccewrnet has been playing him up going to bolton for sometime, I feel as if he even had a mediocre play for them they would have put him in there, go USA! LOL…

  47. Kash says:

    +1 Ream is going to be lucky to get any minutes in the EPL, If he does it’s because he has a better coach than Hans Backe.

  48. Kash says:

    I say Holden behind Dempsey and Altidore, donovan on the right or left and chandler on the opposite of Donovan

  49. I JIK I RED BULLZ says:

    First Gonzalez, then Whitbread, and now Onyewu SMH! Most likely the USMNT will call up 4 CBs and for sure Carlos Bocanegra is one of them. My best bet is that Geoff Cameron will get the call and I’m sure Zak Whitbread will get a call up only if he’s ready to go now we have one spot left which it can go to Ream or John. If Whitbread isn’t healthy by next week then there is a good chance that both John and Ream will be called up with Bocanegra and Cameron. Many people will also claim Goodson but I would rather stay away from him in the meantime only if it’s necessary and I deff. want to stay away from JK main man Orozco. My God can we ever get a break for once

  50. pancholama says:

    ahhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhrrrgghhhhhhh!!!


  51. jgdurl says:

    Klinnsmann will have no line-up surprises up his sleeve. Expect Goodson, maybe Parkhurst, to fill-in at CB next to Bocanegra.

  52. GW says:

    “Without Holden and Gooch healthy, the US can’t play their best.”

    That is debatable.

    Except for the 2009 B team Gold Cup run, Holden has yet to have an outstanding performance for the USMNT. He is tremendously popular and has been great for Bolton but is not a proven USMNT starter.

    He has not had one standout A team performance for the USMNT. He has a lot to prove if and when he gets back.

  53. Goalscorer24 says:

    Oops -“hole”

  54. boosted335 says:

    and Cameron is playing “first team ball” now? lol its MLS preseason John is training with and against the best squad in the championship first team starts or not.
    Call them both in and have them COMPETE for a spot. Novel idea huh

  55. GW says:

    “A canyon sized window just opened up for Zak Whitbread if he can bounce back quickly from his hammy injury.”

    Not for the Italy game. Zak has yet to have even one practice with this group. To put a centerback, a pivotal position where communication is key, in with a bunch of players he has never played with before against Italy at home, of all teams, is not very wise. Especially if it is his first game back from an injury that seems to not be fully healed from the last time.

    You really have to question his durability given his spotty injury record.

    “Cameron might also have a shot at starting, but Klinsi has been notoriously skeptical of MLS defenders..”

    Beckerman. Defensive midfielder, Klinsmann’s starting #6, his version of Dunga. Last I checked he played in MLS. JK plays the guys he believes fit his system best. Beckerman proves that.

    ” It’s a real quandary if Zak isn’t healthy”

    Zak is hardly ever healthy is he?

    It’s not a quandry. Players get hurt. That is what depth is for.

    Gooch and Boca are first string. Gooch goes down , then you start Goodson. If he doesn’t play well you work down the line of what would appear to be a long list of candidates. If there is a silver lining to this injury it is that there is now more opportunity to find out who backs up or succeeds the starters. Hopefully this gets sorted out before the US goes too deep into qualifying.

  56. boosted335 says:

    West Ham is better than any team in MLS and are fighting (and winning!) for automatic promotion to the EPL. There is no shame that John hasnt gotten a first team start (YET) and everything you said about Cameron can be said about John. You should be clamoring for a call up too if you want to see who the best really is

  57. boosted335 says:

    feel bad for Gooch he’s been balling of late

  58. primoone says:

    Congratulations Ream…Time to see what youre made of.

  59. GTV says:

    Very disappointing. As a Clemson guy, Gooch has always been a great source of pride for me. I honestly never thought he would be the same player after the first injury, but he really seemed to excel at SCP.

    Between Gooch and Holden I feel like there’s a curse on Clemson guys and on some of the USMNT’s best available talent.

    Get well soon Gooch!

  60. Award says:

    Uhm no. Just no. John has never played for the USMNT Cameron has and Goodson and D.Williams are both playing for their first teams at CB. Heres a novel idea how about you don’t call in a player until he has proved that he deserves a call-up. Training with the first team is not good enough. Boom. How about not coming on here and being a total d-bag next time.

  61. Award says:

    Yet again you don’t call up someone that is only training with a first team. West Ham is gaining promotion in spite of John not because he is provididng any meaningful minutes to the first team. John has “NEVER” suited up for the national team Cameron has. John will get his chance one day but that day is not against Italy. West HAm better than any other team in MLS I beg to differ. Either you are a West Ham fanboy or are a John fanboy. John has not proven he belongs with the national team. End of discussion.

  62. Sky man says:

    I beg to differ. Every minute I’ve seen him in uniform he’s been stellar (think possession). He just didn’t get the field time he should have under Bradley.

  63. boosted335 says:

    John hasn’t proved he’s deserved a callup to the nats?? boom??? lol

  64. boosted335 says:

    So you must not rate John then because otherwise it sounds like your suggesting John would be more deserving if he’d stayed in Dallas and played against NASL and college teams for the last month or two instead of with a (soon to be) EPL team?

  65. Goodson/Boca in the back has to be the call. I’d love to see Cameron again – I thought he played really well in January, despite the (soft) red card.

    We’ve got depth at center back but I hate to see Gooch get injured again, especially given the fact that he’s been in absolute beast mode recently in Portugal.

  66. Andy says:

    All good suggestions. I’m a big supporter of Geoff Cameron so I’d like to see him play or D-Will. I’m kind of curious what he’ll look like back there.

    Also, I don’t think John should be called in, but to say that he’s not playing first team ball is irrelevant considering that he was in the MLS until he moved. (Cameron is in the same situation except he’s training with Houston not West Ham)

  67. Andy says:

    I agree that he hasn’t proven that he should play, but I don’t see what’s wrong with calling him in as one of the backups and getting to evaluate him in camp, and he’ll get to know the system/guys a little bit.

  68. TomG says:

    Zak is starting and playing well for an EPL club while Goodson hasn’t kicked a ball in 2 months for an inferior team and league. Goodson hasn’t even played well in his recent callups. If he’s healthy, Zak is the clear choice.

  69. Dennis says:

    This just puts a big underline below the statement that the US needs depth at every position. Gooch is not always my idea of a skilled soccer player, but he brings a great deal of physical presence that none of the other guys in the list can provide. Too often I’ve seen Goodson or Ream muscled off the ball to the embarrassment of the US defense. Frankly, if a physical presence is called for, the US has not better choice.

  70. Andrew says:

    surprised there isn’t more sentiment for danny williams to start. he’s been starting at CB in the bundesliga, is a good passer for the position, and would help us to unclog the logjam at DM.

    Jozy Donovan
    Johnson Dempsey Bradley
    Chandler Williams Boca Dolo

  71. Edwin in LA says:

    Pretty sure everyone has been waiting for John, and while it was exciting to see him get a shot with a prolonged trial at West Ham the timing of it was some what sour because he along with Gonzalez were FINALLY going to get a chance at proving themselves to Klinsmann in a good amount of time under the training and guidance of the National Team coaching staff. As it stands they both went on loan/trials, Gonzo got hurt & John is still trying to establish himself on a team battling to have the #1 spot in the Championship and earn automatic undisputed qualification.

    Cameron was NOT beter than both of those guys in the back last year, a good 2 months of regular season not really playing anybody all that good except maybe a very tired FC Dallas team that hit the posts like 5 times and very well could have beaten a Cameron led defense 5-1 didn’t ipress me much…

    As for Danny Williams, look up his starts at TSG’s website or on soccernet, he’s been playing Defensive Midfield which is his natural position for some time now. On the right of the 2 holding mid spots in a 4-2-3-1 I think he may have played 1 or MAYBE 2 games at Center Back in the last 2 months but that is it

  72. bryan says:


    well, lets see what Danny Williams can do. Or we go back to Goodson/Boca.

  73. bryan says:

    wow, just read all the fighting about John vs. Cameron vs. Ream. you all are insane!

    1. they’re all about the same and none of them have proven to really be any better than the other.
    2. John was easy to sign in England because he has a Greek passport.
    3. Ream has actually played with the US team, so it was easier for him to get a work permit too.
    4. Cameron doesn’t have the luxury of either of the items mentioned above.
    5. None of this means one is better than the other until they actually play consistently.
    6. Williams, Goodson or Whitbread are going to start over any of the above mentioned.


  74. The Imperative Voice says:

    I’d pretty much forgotten about the Cameron red versus Panama, but assuming FIFA/CONCACAF make him serve the suspension for the next friendly, that rules him out for Italy. So that means one of Ream or Goodson probably, pairing Boca.

  75. GW says:

    You make it sound like Goodson has been sitting on his couch the last two months eating chips and drinking beer.

    This is not a must win situation.

    Zak is not healthy. Is he ever healthy for more than a few games?

    Zak is NOT “starting and playing well”. He is not match fit. Ever hear of hamstring injuries? Very tricky and people almost always come back too soon from them. The latest from Norwich is he is expected back right about the time the US is playing Italy.

    I know you are just dying to see him in a USMNT uniform but the Italy game would not be a good one for him to make his debut in.

    If you read Zak’s history he is brittle and injury prone. Throwing him to the wolves cold with players he might not have even met in a friendly just so you can see him in a USMNT shirt is the height of foolishness.

    JK might call him in to get him acquainted with everyone like he did with Morales and Johnson but playing him against Italy would be reckless.

  76. GW says:

    Holden is a fine player and always looked good but that doesn’t mean he ever won a job as a starter or ever looked more than “promising”.

    Under Bradley he looked like a man without a role. Fortunately for him he found that role in Bolton.

    But Bolton is not the USMNT, In fact, Bolton isn’t even Bolton anymore, it has changed a bit since Holden got hurt.

    He will start from square one. He has to prove, in the following order:

    That he is healthy and fit

    That he has regained his form for Bolton

    That he can translate that Bolton form to whatever role it is JK wants to try him out in.

    He is not entitled to anything other than the opportunity to prove those three things.

  77. GW says:

    “what’s wrong with calling him in as one of the backups and getting to evaluate him in camp, and he’ll get to know the system/guys a little bit.”

    For one thing, it’s not a camp. It’s probably just a couple of practices and the game. So it’s not like the staff have a lot of time to be evaluating total strangers which is what George is.

    If it is just to get George acquainted with everyone, like they did with Morales and Johnson then that is one thing but playing him is another.

    If John was like Ream and already playing with the first team then maybe you have a case for calling him in.

    However,John has yet to play for West Ham and is battling to win playing time. Perhaps taking three days off would not be in his best interests in terms of winning a contract. He needs to stay at West Ham and take care of business.