Philadelphia Union have themselves a former United States international defender as Oguchi Onyewu signs with the club as a discovery player. He brings to the States a wealth of European experience as he has played with 11 different clubs in seven countries. Although he has not played since the 2014-15 season, when he made three appearances for then second tier Charlton Athletic.
Oguchi Onyewu Signs With Philadelphia Union
Since that season, he trialed with New York City FC in 2015, but was not offered a contract. He also spent time with Rangers in Scotland on their preseason tour last summer, but was not offered a spot on the squad.
Onyewu is a native of Olney, Maryland and has 69 caps with the United States Men’s National Team. He played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. His last national team appearance was in 2014 in a friendly against Ukraine.
He joins a defense that conceded the second most goals of any MLS playoff team last year. He may not have the skills he had during his prime with Standard Liege from 2004-2009, but he does have a lot of size. The 34-year-old has three inches and almost 40 lbs. on both the Union’s primary defenders, Richie Marquez and Ken Tribbett. Those younger legs (both are only 24 years old) will probably still win out a starting job over Onyewu, but the defensive depth he provides could help the team during busy stretches of the schedule.
Sporting director Earnie Stewart seems to see him as a depth signing. “Oguchi is a big, physical presence who brings experience and veteran professionalism, important traits that we believe will be an asset for our group of young defenders,” he said in the Philadelphia Union press release. “He provides excellent depth at the centerback position and we are pleased that we were able to add him to our squad.”
We have seen many older defenders play well in MLS. If Onyewu can get his legs back during the preseason, he could find himself with some steady playing time. His experience could be invaluable to a young Union squad coming off their first payoff appearance since 2011.