U.S.Soccer Players Getting Back In The Thick

By Kevin Koczwara

It was a great week for the United States Men’s National team when they clinched a qualifying spot for the World Cup. But the party ended quickly. Charlie Davies was involved in a horrific car accident that not only would halt his career, but would come close to taking his life. Then one of the U.S.’s stalwarts in the back, Oguchi Onyewu, went down with a horrific injury in a meaningless game.

But it looks like both players are working their way back from their long-term injuries and hope to be in form for their clubs soon and in the mix for the World Cup again.

Let’s check up on their progress.

Charlie Davies

The 23-year-old was in the form of his life when playing alongside Jozy Altidore for the U.S. as the two created chances  and goals for an improved U.S. national side. He moved to France looking like he could make an impact for Sochaux this season in Ligue 1. He had 2 goals in 6 appearances and looked as though he was starting to get his footing in the French league.

But the accident would slow down the surging American. The injuries Davies would suffer were: two broken bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a fracture in his face, a ruptured bladder and bleeding on his brain. With a litany of injuries like that, it was luck that saved Davies.

And now it is time for Davies to finish his rehab and get going on the pitch. He says he is a month away from training, and if he can get back on the pitch and match-fit again maybe he can claim back his World Cup spot, because his pace and field awareness is desperately missed by the U.S. squad.

Oguchi Onyewu

Onyewu was so impressive during the summer of 2009 for the U.S. Men’s National Team that top Italian side AC Milan went out and signed the out of contract player from Standard Liège. But his club season was cut short as he went down with a major knee injury during the U.S.’s final World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Oct. 17. He underwent surgery on Oct. 21 for his injured knee and hasn’t seen the pitch since, until now.

It is reported that the 27 year-old is making strides and is back training. He was reported to be training with the U.S. National team in Carson, Calif. And that he will be returning to Milan to continue training to get fit for the last half of the Serie A season. Milan is hoping he will be fit and ready to go soon as AC tries to push through the end of the season and claim a Champions League spot for next season as they will need the finances to claim a few players in this summers transfer window to bolster their squad.

If Onyewu can get fit and in match fitness then U.S. coach Bob Bradley will be pleased because if their is one place the U.S. squad is short, its the back-line where injuries have plagued the squad and there is a real lack of up-and-comers.

Kevin Koczwara can be reached at kkoczwar@gmail.com

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4 thoughts on “U.S.Soccer Players Getting Back In The Thick

  1. kkoczwara says:

    You hit the nail on the head as to who Bradley has for options. Cooper is the best of the bunch, or the closest to Davies. Ching is too old and he is useless in any other league outside the MLS. Cooper at least has some pace. Casey always looks out of shape and is like Ching in that he can score in the MLS but struggles against the big boys. Adu has started to make an impact, finally, overseas and is a good play maker and has shown he has the skill to make things happen when he is confident, so don't be surprised if he makes the squad and has some significant playing time. They will need some mystery player to step up and make large contributions, and maybe it is a Benny Feihlhaber (spelling?) who is the teams best attacking midfielder coming from the middle and he can play, if Bradley gives him a chance.

  2. oh america says:

    i agree about davies making other strikers work harder for a place in the first team. i was looking at the “us squad” on soccernet. right now they have brian ching, kenny cooper, and conor casey listed as “strikers”. to be honest id rather a davies with no match experience than any of that lot.i think if youre bradley you're going to be relying on altidore (even though he hasn't done much for hull so far this season)up top dempsey, and donovan as some kind of wing or cam to get you the goals. a benefit for bradley (and the rest of us) is the fact that the mls season is starting in about a month. the us could get lucky and find a fresh golascoring talent coming out of the league. some striker, whether it be an adu, a beasely, or an mls talent will be gunning for that davies spot. if you're bradey, come out and ask us strikers to step it up over the next few months if they want to keep davies out of the squad. bradley has a number of resources at his disposal to fill the spot of davies. honestly i dont want to see it wasted on casey, cooper, or, ching. if i wasnt lazy id go in and find you a few names from the mls that i'd like to see fill the spot. my only concern with such a player is lack of experience on the national stage. their inexperience might unnerve them at a vital moment (on the same note, they may handle the pressure with cool and turn into the next big talent…it's all a gamble i suppose).for now, lets see if davies can make some kind of recovery. i agree, onyewu is the one the us needs to have fit and sharp in the back. but up top i think we cant be too eager to hand davies a spot off of last years performances.

  3. kkoczwara says:

    You're right in saying that the U.S. is weak up front. Davies isn't as necessary as Onyewu with Adu in good form, Donovan playing well, and other attacking options they have, but he does bring some pace and goal poaching to the table when he is fit. The comparison to Owen and Rooney is a good one for Davies. He could end up like Owen after all is said and done if he does play. But his presence with the squad could bolster the squad's morale and he will push other striker's in contention for his spot to work harder, which could be a good thing for the squad. Is there anyone you see replacing Davies and being as effective as he was when he was healthy and playing well?

  4. oh america says:

    there is no way davies recovers, finds his form, and makes it back in time for the world cup. another “month” means end of march-april? so he has maybe a month and a half to get games in for his club? i just don't see him being at top form for the rest of the season. his pace/touch/etc will not be where it was a year ago.think back to the last world cup and england. rooney was in a race to be fit-same with owen. they both made the world cup squad but clearly lacked the precision necessary to guide england to the final. owen ended up in a worse position than when the tournament started (torn um…everything in his knee) and rooney was left with his head down, seeing red. Neither of them looked that great during the tournament and i'd expect the same from davies. i suppose since america doesnt have a lot of options they may take a chance on him. if it was a bigger nation i think he'd be left off for sure. he's no van persie…

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