Onyewu appears headed to Dutch champ FC Twente from AC Milan.
By Robert Wagman
(in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, January 6, 2011) -- Assuming he passes a physical -- which does not seem to be an issue -- United States central defender Oguchi Onyewu seems to be on his way joining Netherlands champion FC Twente. There, Onyewu would be reunited with Michel Preud'homme, who was his former coach for two seasons at Belgian champion Standard de Liège (2006-2008) and now leads Twente.
Onyewu left after the 2007-08 season to sign a big-dollar contract at AC Milan, but he was initially sidelined by injury and subsequently was not able to find much playing time with the Italian power. Apparently, he does not fit into the plans of Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri, who has been critical of Onyewu's foot speed.
Twente is one of the up-and-coming teams in Europe. It surprised by winning the Dutch championship last season and, as the league broke for its month-long winter break, it sits in second place in the first-division Eredivise at 11-3-4 with 37 points, four points behind PSV Eindhoven (12-2-5) but with a match in hand.
Last week, Twente announced a deal with English power Manchester United to take on young signings for whom it cannot obtain work permits to play in the United Kingdom.
It is likely Onyewu will go to Twente on loan from Milan for the remainder of the season and then become a free transfer as his contract expires.
U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan has found a place to play, at least for the short term. After seeing little action for a second season as the backup for the seeming indestructible American keeper Brad Friedel at Aston Villa in the English Premier League, he has been loaned to Hull City in the second-tier League Championship on an emergency 30-day loan after Hull's keeper Vito Mannone was injured. Mannone was on loan from Premier League power Arsenal.
Under English and world governing body FIFA rules, an emergency goalkeeper loan to fill in for an injured player is not considered a transfer and can take place outside the transfer window process. It can only be for 30 days at a time.
Guzan made his debut for Hull and played a strong match Saturday, making five saves in a 1-0 loss to Leicester City. On Monday, he came up with a seven saves and Hull prevailed over Portsmouth 3-2.
Friedel, meantime, made four very good saves, while getting a yellow card in helping Aston Villa to a 3-3 draw at Chelsea.
Friedel made outstanding stops on Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda to keep Villa ahead 2-1 with six minutes left in regulation. Then, the Villa defense let down and Didier Drogba and John Terry put Chelsea ahead before Villa defender Ciaran Clark leveled the match at 3-3 in stoppage time.
"We've been in such a bad run of form, we needed something," Friedel told the media. "And it's great to get it at Stamford Bridge."
Yesterday, Friedel played well again with three saves, but fell short losing 1-0 at home to Sunderland.
American defender Eric Lichaj dressed, but did not play for Villa in either match.
For the second match in a row, Everton defender Phil Jagielka scored into the wrong goal, his own goal getting past U.S. keeper Tim Howard Sunday in a 2-1 road loss to Stoke City at Britannia Stadium.
With 20 minutes remaining Danny Higginbotham sent a long free-kick into the Everton box which Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones mis-kicked straight up in the air. Jagielka tried to get in the way as the ball dropped to Ricardo Fuller, who struck it from six yards out, but it bounced off Jagielka's leg and past Howard.
Kenwyne Jones had powered a header past Howard in the first half.
Yesterday, Howard made three saves as Everton was dominant in a 2-1 decision over Tottenham Hotspur.
On Tuesday, U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey came up with a nicely headed goal, his seventh of the season, leading Fulham past visiting West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at Craven Cottage. In the 56th minute, Dempsey, who had a strong overall match, managed to get his head on a corner kick from Simon Davies and sent it past keeper Scott Carson.
Earlier, Dempsey was pulled down in the West Brom penalty area, but Fulham was not given a penalty kick despite its pleas. Carson also made a nice save on a shot by Dempsey as he held off a pair of defenders.
On Saturday, Dempsey went 90 minutes, but the Fulham attack was largely absent in a 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
U.S> striker Eddie Johnson did not dress for Fulham in either match.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden continues to recover from a thigh injury and was unavailable to Bolton Wanderers, who dropped a 2-1 result to Liverpool Saturday and drew 1-1 with Wigan Athletic yesterday
American keeper Marcus Hahnemann was again on the bench for Wolverhampton Wanderers, who continued their inconsistent play, losing 2-0 to West Ham United Saturday 2-0 before upsetting Chelsea 1-0 on Wednesday.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector was on the bench for West Ham's win over Wolves as well as a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle United on Wednesday.
In the League Championship, American defender Zak Whitbread, recovered from a calf strain, started in his first game of the season Saturday, going the distance and helping Norwich City to a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers.
On Monday, Whitbread was back on the bench for a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
On Saturday, American forward Conor Doyle played 90 minutes for Derby County in a 2-1 triumph over Preston North End. On Monday, he played the first half of a 0-0 draw with Millwall.
In the third-tier League One on Monday, American defender Frank Simek went the distance for Carlisle United, which fell 2-1 to Tranmere Rovers. On Saturday, he went 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Huddersfield.
American attacker Mike Grella started and played 58 minutes for Carlisle in the draw with Huddersfield. He came on in the 65th minute in the loss to Tranmere.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin watched from the Plymouth Argyle bench a 3-2 victory Tuesday over Bristol Rovers, as he did Saturday in a 0-0 draw with Yeovil Town.
American forward Jemal Johnson dressed, but did not play for Milton Keynes Dons in their 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday. He played the final 15 minutes of a 1-0 loss to Yeovil Town on Tuesday.
U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu still has not fully recovered from his left knee injury and was absent for Glasgow Rangers as they dropped 2-0 decision to crosstown rival Glasgow Celtic in Sunday's Old Firm match. The loss dropped Rangers four points behind Celtic, but they have two games in hand because of weather cancellations the past two weeks.
In Spain, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore came on for Giuseppe Rossi for the final seven minutes for Villarreal, which defeated Almeria 2 - 0 on Monday.
In Germany, it looks like Jermaine Jones has played his last match for Schalke 04. The German-American midfielder was demoted to Schalke's second team a month ago and now has not been included in the squad that went for winter training in Belek, Turkey.
Jones has been in a running war of words with head coach Felix Magath with Magath accusing him of slacking off in matches and most recently of being "involved in espionage." Reportedly, two Bundesliga teams are interested in Jones -- VfL Wolfsburg and 1899 Hoffenheim -- and he will likely be dealt this month.
American midfielder Freddy Adu may well be on his way to yet another stop in his soccer odyssey. Adu is on trial with FC Ingolstadt 04 of the 2.Bundesliga. The club's web site says Adu played on Thursday in a training match against Kickers Offenbach at its winter training camp in Turkey.
The 21-year-old Adu is currently on loan from Benfica of Spain to Aris Thessaloniki
in Greece, but he has not played this season. A trial with Swiss club FC Sion was not successful.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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