In the second installment of the "MNT in Europe" podcast series, Oguchi Onyewu sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss, among other topics, the USA's Gold Cup title run and his prospects for making the 2006 World Cup roster. Catch the full conversation in the latest podcast, exclusively at ussoccer.com.
On the team’s and his play in the Gold Cup:
“I think it was a great achievement for the team. For me, personally, I think that I got experience from playing that many games consistently and consecutively. And hopefully, I was able to gain a little bit of confidence from the coaching staff, and I can use that to propel myself farther with the national team.”
On how he developed over the course of the tournament:
“I was able to deal with the pressure and adjust to all of the different teams and formations that we played. I think I learned a lot from that.
The tournament happened really fast in terms of how many days we had between games. You had to be able to conserve energy and know when to exert energy in terms of games, and be able to relax in your off time and be a professional pretty much.”
On his national team role compared to his role at Standard de Liege:
“I would say there is not much difference. I was told by Bruce [Arena] and Glenn [Myernick] to take more of a leadership role in the back. The center back is the control of the whole defense. That’s where it all begins. I am young, but they want me to take more of a vocal part in terms of direction and organization. And that’s pretty much my responsibility here at Standard de Liege as well.”
On how his size affects the number of calls whistled against him:
“I think a lot of referees aren’t used to seeing soccer players of my stature. So that allows them to call more fouls than I think should be called against me. A lot of times, I am cautious of what I do because I know I will be called for fouls. It can hurt you as well as help you.”
On scoring the game winning goal in the Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras:
“It was crazy. At that point in the game, everybody was tired and I don’t think anyone wanted to play another 30 minutes. Luckily, we got that foul on Pat Noonan and I was able to be in the right place at the right time.”
On Standard de Liege missing a spot in the UEFA Cup:
“It was a huge disappointment for our club and our supporters. We were very consistent throughout the year. We lost one match from November until the end of the season. To lose in that manner kind of dug into our hearts a little bit. You can’t dwell on it too long. That’s the sport.
You can’t always win. You won’t always lose. You have to move on. And hopefully we’ll have a better turnout this season.”
On a potential move to a bigger club:
“I don’t think anybody is ever content with the club that they are at.
They always try to excel to a higher club and a higher stature. Of course I’m here right now and I’m happy to be here. But in the end, I strive to play at a higher club at a better level.”
On whether or not his time at the Gold Cup affected his position with Standard de Liege:
“I think that I proved my capabilities and my potential to the coaches last season. They knew that I wouldn’t lose anything being with the national team, and if anything, I would have gained experience. They were very understanding and realized that I needed to play in those kinds of games for my upcoming status with the national team. I don’t think it hurt me at all.”
On the upcoming World Cup qualifier on Aug. 17 against Trinidad and Tobago:
“If we win this game, it will put us in a remarkable position for qualifying for the next World Cup. I’m sure everybody is going to do everything in their power to get those three points.”
On the possibility of being on the 2006 World Cup roster:
“Every time I step on the field, it’s an opportunity to make the 2006 World Cup squad. And that’s how I treat every game.”
ussoccer.com is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.