After last night's excellent showing by Oguchi Onyewu in Standard's 1-0 Champion's League loss to Liverpool, his stock is peaking at just three days before the transfer deadline. Another American defender in Europe is also on the rise as young Neven Subotic continues to show he is a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga. This weekend, he marked Bayern Munich's Italian international Luca Toni out of the match in a 1-1 draw at Subotic's Borussia Dortmund. His play this year indicates Subotic has confidence and tactical competence beyond his years - yet he continues to improve.
While Subotic continues to impress and Onyewu appears poised to make a jump to the next level, this pair could evolve as a high quality central defense for the United States - one which could have a very positive impact on the US team making some noise at the 2010 World Cup. A pairing of the 6'4" twin towers of Onyewu and Subotic could form the nucleus of a back line opponents would dread. Alas, Onyewu is a national team regular while Subotic has yet to be called up.
A month ago, ESPN's Jeff Carlisle (a friend of LFV) reported that US coach Bob Bradley "refused to take any questions regarding Subotic's situation." So, it remains unclear whether US coach Bob Bradley is already considering calling up Subotic or has already tried and been rebuffed. Word on the street in Germany is that Subotic was unhappy with with his US youth team experience and was actually pining to play for Germany (which is looking less likely).
Whispers here in Europe also indicate that one coach who does seem interested in calling up Subotic is new Serbian coach Radomir Antic, who took the reins of the White Eagles last week. The former Real Madrid boss has been charged with guiding Serbia to World Cup qualification from a tough group which includes France and Romania. After Serbia's disappointing showing at the Olympics, their federation is looking for new blood and Subotic's work this season has been too hard to ignore. Antic has already gone after Barcelona's uncapped teenage striker Bojan Krkic (who can play for Serbia or Spain) so don't expect him to be shy about Subotic.
So, if US Coach Bob Bradley and the USSF cannot soon convince Subotic to play for the Stars and Stripes, it may be too late to bring in this rising young star. After losing Giuseppe Rossi to the Azzurri last year, I'm afraid letting another starlet go could be more that the US faithful could bear.
Last winter Subotic said he would make a decision about which national team to play for; the USA, Serbia, or Bosnia-Herzegivina. While it is not clear yet what he decided, since Serbia plays the Faroe Islands on September 6th, and France four days later - we may find out Subotic's decision soon enough.