Standard de Liege will open their UEFA Cup campaign on Thursday with a trip to Goodison Park and a matchup against Everton (delayed on Fox Soccer Channel, 5 p.m. ET - though for those of you who want to follow live text updates, you can do so on UEFA.com). The game puts two stalwarts of the U.S. defense head-to-head, as Oguchi Onyewu will not be standing guard in front of Tim Howard as we have become so acccustomed to seeing. We wondered what is like to square off against a teammate with whom you have shared so many important moments in your career ... so we asked Gooch.
ussoccer.com: What’s it like going up against a U.S. teammate in match as big as a UEFA Cup match?
Gooch: “Now that I think about it, this is the first time that I’ve played in a UEFA Cup game against another American. It should be fun. It will be a lot more fun if the results go our way.”
ussoccer.com: Is it strange to be playing against Tim, particularly when you work so closely together in the U.S. defense?
Gooch: “Definitely different than what I’m usually doing with him. Timmy is my boy and all, but for 90 minutes he’s going to be my adversary. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the ball past him.”
ussoccer.com: Have your teammates asked you for the scouting report on him?
Gooch: “Yes. You can’t say too much about him other than he’s a great goalkeeper.”
ussoccer.com: What do you think he’s telling them about you?
Gooch: “I don’t like to cite my weaknesses, but I’m sure if I have any he is telling his coaches about it and they will try to expose them.”
ussoccer.com: Coming off such a great season in Belgium, how is the team’s mood as you head to the UK?
Gooch: “It feels like yesterday we were coming away from that. We’re confident. We know they are a big club, and it’s always a good atmosphere when you play a Premiership club. Everton has aspirations to go far in UEFA Cup. Even though we are from a smaller country, I’m sure they respect us.”