If you’re coming up with a list of which Union player you definitely shouldn’t grab by the neck under any circumstance, you’d start with Oguchi Onyewu, take a coffee break, come back to the list, write down Gooch’s name again, and then figure out the rest.
The 35-year-old center back is massive, once got into a fight with one of the world’s best players, had an iconic staredown vs. Mexico, and is currently sporting a fairly large chip on his shoulder.
And yet …
The moment in question happened after Benny Feilhaber blew up at a seemingly good penalty call that allowed the Union to bury a penalty kick and escape Kansas City with a 1-1 draw in a game in which they were outplayed last night.
Why Sporting Kansas City’s Elie Sanchez got mad enough to then grab Onyewu by the neck in the ensuing scrum is unclear. What’s even more unclear is how Gooch managed not to erupt, other than the simple explanation that the Union’s 6-foot-4 ripped behemoth barely felt it.
Either way, Sanchez may be looking at a suspension. And the Union are leaving Kansas City feeling really good about clawing out a tough road point against one of the best teams in the West leading up to the Gold Cup break.
And while the Union can mostly thank goalkeeper John McCarthy — who really is the perfect backup goalkeeper for Philly — for coming through with some big saves while filling in Andre Blake (who’s currently with Jamaica at the Gold Cup), Onyewu’s leadership and poise was another big reason for the result.
The two-time World Cup veteran has already swatted away plenty of critics who figured he was washed up. Now, he may just be one of the Union’s top players — so best not get him too mad.