Tomorrow, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann will announce his roster for the Feb 29 friendly against Italy. Sadly, we know one player who will not be on it: hulking defender Oguchi Onyewu.
The Sporting CP centerback tore ligaments and the meniscus in his right knee on Sunday and will miss eight weeks after undergoing surgery. The injury comes just as the 29-year-old was finally regaining his top form after an October 2009 injury to his left knee (ruptured patellar tendon).
It’s a big setback for the player, obviously, and it creates a void in the center of the U.S. backline, where Gooch was almost certain to start come World Cup qualifying in June.
He was also a shoo-in for next Wednesday’s match in Italy (2:30 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN3, Galavision). It will be interesting to see who gets Klinsmann’s call tomorrow. Most observers are expecting a heavy influx of European-based talent (for centerbacks: Zak Whitbread? Tim Ream?), but don’t count out Geoff Cameron, currently in preseason camp with the Houston Dynamo.