I've seen Oguchi Onyewu play a lot for the US. I was there in person to see the penalty he surrendered to Ghana. I remember seeing him burn it up in 2008-09, helping us qualify for the '10 WC, reach the final of the CC, and dominate Mexico again in Columbus (recall that great picture of him staring down Borghetti?). In the past few games though, beginning with Scotland and ending with today's debacle against A&B, I'm appalled at how poorly he's played. If he didn't have a credible pedigree, for the US and club teams, I would't hesitate for a second before concluding that he's not NT level. But before dismissing a player with his history for the US and degree of apparent natural talent, I want to at least consider--and get others' opinions on--the best arguments for keeping him in the player pool. Here are two, and I'm interested in hearing others: First: perhaps Gooch's recent games aren't representative of his overall form of late. Maybe, that is, we're getting a biased sample of Gooch in the past few games. It's only been a couple weeks, after all. Maybe the dude is just off-form. The word is that he had a good season for Sporting Lisbon, and that's a credible mid-level European team (got to the semis of the Europa League). (Then again, has anyone actually seen Gooch play for Sporting? I haven't, and I wonder if there's evidence that he's actually playing well over the longer term, or if this is just something people have assumed because he's starting for Sporting.) Second: Klinsmann sees something that we haven't. Who knows, maybe in practice and in other settings Gooch looks good, but has been out of form in game settings a few times. I give Klinsi a lot of benefit of the doubt, and he's clearly no soccer dummy, so his willingness to give Gooch a run out is some evidence (albeit weak evidence) that Gooch has something that he hasn't shown in the past few games. (Then again, Klinsi doesn't seem terribly supportive of Gooch. He's been dropped from the starting lineup, and was only in there today because of the injury to Torres. So it's not as though JK has given him a massive vote of confidence.) I'm interested to hear if there's anything to these arguments (which, I stress, are my best attempt to play devil's advocate and come up with any reason that Gooch should be in the player pool after what's been a shocking few games), or if there are any other reasons that he should continue to get a run-out. What I suspect, though, is that Gooch has always been kinda overrated. He was a rare example of a stereotypically big US athlete who opted for soccer over one of the other major sports, and that makes me think maybe people looked past his lack of skill due to his size and athleticism. Lord knows he gave up more than one clumsy penalty in his career (though he also has some attributes that are worth considering, like his being an aerial threat on corners). Anyway, since people are (not unreasonably) dumping all over Gooch in the other threads, I wanted to isolate the issue and think about it seriously instead of just reflexively dismissing the guy, however tempting it may be at this point.