USMNT / World / World Cup

Is Herculez Gomez World Cup roster material?

Herculez Gomez has popped back onto the US National Team radar due to his recent performances for Puebla FC in the Mexican First Division, where he has scored 7 goals in 12 games. He previously appeared briefly for the US National Team during the 2007 Copa America Tournament. This was the year that Coach Bob Bradley decided to send a B/C team to South America, while using his A team a couple weeks earlier to win the 2007 Gold Cup Tournament. The US did not have great success during the Copa America, but Herculez Gomez got some playing time against both Argentina and Colombia.

Gomez is currently 27 and should be nearing his peak performance level as a striker. Gomez had limited success in MLS, although this was partially due to early injuries and coaching decisions. Gomez played in the lower level Mexican Divisions before playing for a PDL team in the US in 2002. The LA Galaxy picked him up on a developmental contract, but he did not play after breaking his foot while on loan to the Seattle Sounders. In 2005 he had a break-out season with the LA Galaxy, when he scored 11 goals. However, Steve Sampson decided to move him to midfield in 2006. This led to a falling out and a dip in form.

Gomez then went on to play for the Colorado Rapids and the Kansas City Wizards without too much distinction. He played well enough to start, but didn’t score very often. Since joining Puebla FC in January of 2010, he has been on fire. Although I have not seen him play in Mexico, he is regarded as being a major asset to Puebla FC. I have seen a couple of highlights of his goals and they are not all that spectacular, but he is getting the job done.

The fact that he can play both midfield and striker makes him more valuable for US National Team duty. In addition it also says something about his style of play. He is not a target forward, and his game is based on skill, speed, and powerful strikes. From what I remember of him during his MLS years, his speed stuck out the most. I felt like he did a good job of getting behind the opposing teams’ back lines. I also remember him being good on the ball in addition to being a good passer. He seemed like a strong, well-rounded player. However, he just didn’t appear to excel enough in any given area to be a World Class player.

With that said, he is playing himself back into contention. Scoring often in a fairly competitive league like the Mexican First Division is impressive. If the US had a couple more friendly matches to experiment, then I would say that he deserved a call up. Unfortunately, the US has only three more matches just before the World Cup. The US will play Turkey, the Czech Republic, and then Australia before their opening game versus England. During these matches Bob Bradley should be fine tuning the team that he has already decided on. This is not the time to bring in new blood, which could potentially mess with the team chemistry.

On the other hand, an in form striker may be just what the doctor ordered. With Davies coming back from injury and presumably out of form, there isn’t anyone in my mind, who can lay claim to the second striker position next to Jozy Altidore. Bob Bradley might decide to bring Herculez Gomez just in case. What do you think?

One Comment

  1. I definitely think he’s worth considering. He scores. In Mexico. And that’s not a bad league. It’s not like the U.S. has anyone else peppering the back of the net right now up top.

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