Competing for Championships
If pressure breeds experience and success builds confidence, then several of the U.S. internationals recently added to the roster are in a great position heading into the next few weeks with the National Team.
May 20 has turned out to be a big day for Herculez Gomez, Oguchi Onyewu and Michael Parkhurst, as each are staring at the opportunity to win a trophy that would reward outstanding seasons for their clubs and provide a big boost when they join their U.S. teammates here in Orlando.
“It’s really awesome to see,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is constantly preaching that his players to be competing and performing well in big matches. “Michael Parkhurst is playing right now for the chance to be Danish champions. Gooch is playing in the Portuguese Cup final. Herculez Gomez is playing for a title in Mexico. It would be awesome if these guys come in with their chests puffed out. The more success they have with their club teams, the more confident they are.”
One young international has already collected a title, with Terrence Boyd helping Borussia Dortmund II capture a crown in the fourth division while gaining promotion. Boyd scored in the final, increasing his season tally to 20 goals.
“Terrence Boyd has really been on a roll,” said Klinsmann. “He scored a goal in the final and won the title. We were really impressed with the way he presented himself against Italy, giving 200 percent and showing real hunger when he got into the game.”
Here’s a brief look at the scenarios:
Herculez Gomez: The 2010 FIFA World Cup veteran could become the first U.S. player to win both an MLS Cup title and Mexican League title. Santos plays at home tonight against Monterrey in the second leg of the Liguilla final, having tied 1-1 in the first match. Gomez has been an integral part of what is arguably one of the top two teams in Mexico the last year, scoring 19 goals in all competitions.
Oguchi Onyewu: Sporting Lisbon are playing in the Portuguese Cup final against Académica, seeking their 20th cup title. While they have already qualified, a win would guarantee a spot in the Group Phase of next season’s Europa League. Gooch has had a resurgent year in Portugal, proving to be a lion in the back.
Michael Parkhurst: In a massive turnaround, Nordsjaelland will enter the final matchday with their destiny in their own hands. They started today one point behind league leaders Copenhagen, and after winning 1-0 on May 20 at Brondy – captained by Clarence Goodson – and a 1-0 loss for Copenhagen, a win on May 23 would assure Parkhurst & Co. the SuperLigaen title.