American defender Oguchi Onyewu has had an interesting career path to say the very least.
The man affectionately known as "Gooch" made his name in Belgium before making his big move to Italian giant AC Milan, where his most memorable accomplishment was a practice scrum with the almighty Zlatan, as per the Daily Mail.
Onyewu's forgetful Italian experience led to him having even more forgetful stints all over Europe, as the American international has found himself in Portugal, Spain and Holland in recent years.
Despite the tumultuous club situation, Gooch remained a major part of the United States' plans, as Onyewu was a regular on the Yanks' back line for years. Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra were just as big a part of the Stars and Stripes' successes as Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey:
Think Onyewu still has an outside shot at the World Cup roster. Needs to be playing. At Malaga last year, he wasn't #USMNT— Seth Vertelney (@svertgoalcom) October 23, 2013
How insane would it be if Onyewu becomes a regular at QPR, gets them promoted, and goes to Brazil next summer? Watch out Clarence. #USMNT— Astroheader (@Astroheader) October 23, 2013
However, if Onyewu ever expects to wear the red, white and blue again, he is going to have to really turn some heads with his newest club, Championship side QPR.
Onyewu's biggest issue has been getting on the field, as the hulking defender has played in just 51 matches since 2009. United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann has long stressed the importance of getting game time. It doesn't matter where you're playing, in the eyes of the German, as long as you're playing.
Gooch's move to QPR truly gives the defender the chance to show he still has it. QPR are most certainly favored for promotion, giving the American the chance at featuring in the Premier League after the World Cup. Onyewu himself discussed the prospects of a Premier League return, according to BBC, having briefly featured on loan for Newcastle in 2007:
I want to help the club get back to the Premier League—that's why I've come here. Harry believes I can come in and help the team out and when you've got the backing of the coach and his staff, ultimately that tells me that I've made the right decision to come here and try this new challenge. England is a fantastic place to play and I can't wait to get started here.
But even if this is an all-in move to get onto Klinsmann's radar for a Brazilian adventure, QPR fits the mold of a club that the United States manager would recommend. Onyewu should get playing time, as QPR's incumbent central pairing, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill, are both on the wrong end of their careers.
Will Gooch's time at QPR be a success?
Also adding to Onyewu's case is that he is, contrary to popular belief, joining a team in one of Europe's top leagues. Despite being England's second division, featuring in the Championship is a much better option than playing in the top division of a lesser footballing nation.
At the end of the day, Klinsmann looks likely to go with the young duo of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler, and that's perfectly okay. The youthful pair have stepped up to each and every challenge thrown at them throughout the current World Cup phase.
But Gooch's goal should be to earn a plane ticket to Brazil. Is he likely to start for the Yanks? Probably not. But Onyewu has World Cup experience and a strong run of form could make that experience worthwhile for Klinsmann to include in next summer's squad.
If Onyewu can find his legs in London, he's worth considering, as Gooch might just have enough left in him to wear the red, white and blue one last time.
Which player with an outside chance would you like to see make the United States' World Cup Roster? Leave a comment below with your choice or tweet @R_Tolmich with your ideas!