Oguchi Onyewu's honeymoon period with Sporting Lisbon appears to be over.
After turning in a rebound season and reclaiming his form with the Portuguese power last season, a fit Onyewu was left off the club's UEFA Europa League roster, which was turned in on Thursday.
With Sporting only submitting a 22-man squad, one player can still be added to the roster up to a day before next Thursday's opening leg of the club's final qualifying playoff round against Danish side Horsens, according to reports out of Portugal. Should Sporting qualify for the group stage, Europa League rules stipulate that a final squad for the tournament can be submitted no later than Sept. 3.
By contrast, the Americans on all of the other teams still involved in Europa League qualifying — Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna) and Josh Gatt (Molde) — were all included on their respective teams' rosters for the upcoming round.
Rumblings of a rocky road for Onyewu started to appear at the beginning of August, when Onyewu wrote a slightly ominous tweet that included, "Just to be clear…I love SCP and am very happy here!! And I want and intend on staying here until the end of my contract." Sporting has a new coach this season, with Domingos Paciencia being replaced by former Sporting forward Ricardo Sa Pinto.
Onyewu, 30, is entering the second year of his three-year pact with Sporting and is coming off a season in which he played 30 games and scored five goals across all competitions.
Considering the emergence of Clarence Goodson and Geoff Cameron as centerback partners for Carlos Bocanegra while Onyewu struggled during his minutes in the May and June friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, this latest development cannot be a good sign for Onyewu's prospects both at the club and on the international level, and it appears that he will have to play his way back into the good graces at Sporting. The team kicks off its regular season on Sunday, facing Vitoria Giumaraes in a road test that may give an even better indicator of where Onyewu currently stands with his club.
What do you think of this development?
Share your thoughts below.