ONYEWU JOINS SPORTING LISBON
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DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, June 28, 2011
US international defender Oguchi Onyewu has signed a three-year contract with Portuguese giants Sporting CP, ending his difficult two-season spell with Italian champions AC Milan.

The club confirmed the deal to YA.

"Oguchi Onyewu is the latest reinforcement of Sporting," the team announced through their website. "The American central defender has signed a contract with the Lions for the next three seasons."

The two-time World Cup veteran for the US originally signed with Italian team AC Milan in the summer of 2009, however injuries and coaching changes limited the Washington DC native to only a single appearance.

After a long layoff on the club level due to a knee injury suffered in late-2009 while on international duty, he spent the first half of 2011 on a loan deal with Dutch team FC Twente, making a total of 14 appearances across league, cup and European competition.

Sporting's Director of Football Carlos Freitas is confident that Onyewu's previous experience with both the US and his former club teams at the top level will allow him to excel at the 18-time Portuguese champions.

"We have come close to working together on two occasions and on the third it has finally happened," Freitas explained in an official statement. "Oguchi will fit right into the spirit of the team and he is used to the pressure of representing such a big club."

The financial terms of the transfer from Milan were not publicly released, however Freitas indicated that they were quite favorable for the Lisbon-based club. "We have a good relationship with Milan and because of that it wasn't hard for us to come to an agreement."

Onyewu stated through the team his expectations to do his part to help them return to the top of Portuguese competition.

"In every team that I have played, I have always given 200% and I will do the same for Sporting," he stated. "I am at a massive club and it is a real privilege for any player to have the chance to play for Sporting. I want to help the team win the championship."

Despite having won the league a total of 18 times and the domestic cup on a further 19 occasions, Sporting are in the midst of a growing dry spell, with their last cup title coming in 2008 and their league championship following the 2001-02 season.

Sporting finished the 2010-11 season a distant third behind league heavyweights FC Porto and Benfica, and reached the final 32 of the Europa League, where they were knocked out by Rangers thanks to a goal by Onyewu's international teammate Maurice Edu.

They are set to compete once again in the Europa League, beginning in the playoff round in mid-August. Their domestic campaign is scheduled to begin on the weekend of August 14.
Sergio (portuguese)
Tuesday July 12, 2011 1:53 pm
Hey,

Sporting last season has been a terrible team in air, suffered 31 goals in 30 games...

The defense is constituted by João pereira, the greatest right back in Portugal, great speed tackling agressivity crossing... by Carriço, a 22 yo central defender but too small, and Evaldo a good left defender, fast but with some mental flaws...

The midfield is the engine of the team, probably one of the best in europe, but in attack very bad forwards but let's see the new guys, bojinov and rick van wolfswinkel...

Portugal is considered the 6th best league in Europe with eredivise comming 7th... the 3 big clubs usually go far in european competitions and Porto in last years have started to win it all Champions league + 2 europa leagues... Sporting had a final in Europa League lost in their own stadium...
Charles
Thursday June 30, 2011 5:37 pm
As Milan never saw fit to play Onyewu, we'll never know if he was good enough to play for Milan or not. Wouldn't be the first time an American was buried in the reserves for whatever reason (many of these left unexplained, or not very good reasons). It remains to be seen whether Sporting is sincere in their desire to play Onyewu. I have a bad feeling though and I expect that Onyewu has been put in the Jovan Kirovski "Euro football leper colony". Milan sapped the best years of Onyewu's career by shelving him away. Perhaps Milan only acquired him so as not to have to face him on the pitch. It sounds cynical, but would you put it past Milan?
referee1951
Thursday June 30, 2011 4:12 pm
I agree with James we want more detail on this future team, and why he did not make it in Holland, which is widely seen (along with the Portugese league) as the highest quality Euro feeder league to the Prem, Serie A, La Liga. USMNT is not a factor for these players, be real. Money is, or most would be in MLS now. OK one wants to test himself against the best, but the money is the key. Portugal is a BAD selection for Gooch, just as Turkey was for Josy Altidore. Playing regularly is most important, well beyond selection of Euro team and league.
Ohana
Wednesday June 29, 2011 2:26 pm
It's irrelevant whether Gooch was good enough to actually play for A.C. Milan or not. Milan came forward with more money than any team he had played for previously and will likely play with for the remainder of his career. We want him and all the European-based players to play regularly because it benefits the national team. Those guys make these moves to big clubs because it benefits themselves, not the national team. I bet that was at the bottom of the list of the things he considered in this move.
Brent
Wednesday June 29, 2011 7:57 am
Ohh-Oaa Don't know if that was the best move. Again, Portugal is very technical and quick. Should of went to a English Championship team. Good Luck Gooch! We need you at Center back.
Julian
Wednesday June 29, 2011 7:02 am
good luck gooch. hopefully he'll get some regular playing time and back to his best.
Ed C.
Wednesday June 29, 2011 5:28 am
how the mighty have fallen! his big mistake was thinking he was good enough to play for AC Milan. "A man's got to know his limitations," Clint Eastwood said in a movie or two. Not even sure what happened with Twente, why he didn't play much but Portugal is a few steps down from Serie A and perhaps even lower down then the Eredivise. Good luck Guchi!
4bc
Wednesday June 29, 2011 1:40 am
Great news! He's got competition but I believe he'll be the biggest defender on the roster and they can probably use him at center back. There's a solid chance for him winning a starting job.
James
Tuesday June 28, 2011 11:56 pm
How has Sporting defense been before this? A glaring weakness for the team? Or is he joining a strong defensive squad, one that couldnt score? How many goals did Sporting give up last season? Where did that rank in Portugal? Is he expected to compete for a starting spot? Does he have a good partner in central defense or are their strong defenders on the wings?
I think you need to finish your article.
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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