CHESTER, Pa. – Ever since signing with the Philadelphia Union in January, Oguchi Onyewu has heard all about his age, his injuries and other reasons why he’ll never be able to recapture his old soccer glory days.

And he’s getting sick of it.

“Honestly, people kind of acted like they don’t know who I am or the player I was,” Onyewu, a former US national team star, told reporters after leading the Union to a 3-0 win over the New England Revolution on Sunday. “And they’re acting surprised when they see performances that I’ve put in this season. I know what I’m capable of. Fortunately for me, the Union knew what I was capable of and I’ve been proving that right now.

“The Onyewu that you guys said was in the past is obviously in the present as well. To the critics, I’m just doing the job I’ve always been doing for the last 16 years.”

Onyewu may not be surprising himself. But it does make sense why his strong play – Union coach Jim Curtin called his game vs. the Revs his best of the season, and Onyewu followed it up with another big-time performance in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City – has been surprising to some.

After all, the Maryland native was out of pro soccer for about two years as he recovered from injuries, including an Achilles one, and looked to move from Europe to MLS. Several Eastern Conference teams declined his overtures. And even the Union initially insisted he was only invited on a training stint and not a trial this past preseason.

“The Revs, too, a pass on me too,” the 35-year-old center back revealed. “I think they might be going back on that decision now. It wasn’t just them. It was a few other teams and I think it had to do with my age and perhaps my past injuries.

“But there are not a lot of players that have sustained a lengthy career like I’ve had that haven’t had injuries to their names. Kaká had multiple injuries, yet people rate him highly. It’s a testament to who I am and what I’m about. I don’t let adversity get in the way. I push through it. I’m continuing to do that with this team behind me and hopefully we all continue to do that the rest of the season.”

With Onyewu anchoring the backline, the Union head into the Gold Cup break on a three-game unbeaten run, having given up only one goal in that stretch.

The team has been boosted by not only Onyewu’s veteran leadership – he briefly wore the captain’s armband for the first time with Philly last weekend – but also the play of his rookie center back partner, Jack Elliott.

With promising youngsters Joshua Yaro and Richie Marquez the presumed starters, neither Onyewu nor Elliott were expected to play a prominent role this season. Yet they’ve now been on the field together for 821 minutes, during which time the team has allowed only five goals.

Onyewu, though, isn’t worried about stats. He’s just happy to be playing soccer again, which he hopes will continue throughout the regular season and deep into the playoffs.

“That’s for the critics or you guys, the journalists, to dictate right now,” he said. “My most important part of playing right now is to maintain the zeroes, which we’re doing, to get three points, to move up to get into the playoffs, and ultimately, to hopefully have the opportunity to raise the MLS Cup.”