Herculez Gomez wants back in MLS…he’s just not sure when


Who wouldn’t love to see Herculez Gomez back in MLS – if only because it would strip away his  ability to be  such an MLS thorn in CONCACAF Champions League?

Seriously, there are so many reasons why most clubs would love for the U.S.  international to fall into their roster. First and foremost, the guy can score; he’s a regular for a strong Liga MX side and a U.S. national team starter.

He’s a standup guy who has established great relationships with supporters through social media. The Santos Laguna man is an American who now enjoys tremendous respect in Mexico for his accomplishments there, so he carries a fantastic cross-over marketing value.

Gomez had his time in MLS – and it came and went with mixed results at Colorado, Los Angeles and Kansas City. Gomez got an opportunity in 2010 with Puebla in Mexico – at a time when the opportunities weren’t exactly flying in – and his career was suddenly off and flying.

The U.S. international is fairly diplomatic when he talks about his time in MLS and how things didn’t always fall his way. But never mind all that; not only does Gomez sound like someone who wants to get back into the league, he suggested during an interview with Soccer Today that day might not be long in coming. (Full disclosure: Soccer Today is a weekly radio show/podcast that I host along with ESPN’s Marc Stein.)

Gomez was in Dallas last week visiting with friends from his MLS days and watching the FC Dallas-LA Galaxy match. He spoke with Soccer Today the following morning, saying he loves his time in Mexico but mentioning that he has recently turned 31. Home is home, after all, and so many stars who find greater fortune in Europe or Mexico long  for the chance to finish back in our country.

The question was about playing once again in MLS “down the road.”

It might be sooner than you guys think. I’ve been enjoying myself playing [in Mexico]. But I’m at a point in my in my life right now where I have a lot more, and MLS is extremely attractive. What I’ve done in Mexico, I’m extremely proud of. It’s not just that I’m scoring goals, but I’ve been put in difference environments, other different situations, been kind of set up to fail, you might so, and I overcame. That’s something I’ve hung my hat on. …

I’d like to think somewhere out there, there is another opportunity somewhere out there for me in MLS. I’d like to be part of that, because I think that’s important.”

When pressed about whether that “somewhere out there” might even be this summer, Gomez reacted the way a professional should – by reminding us that he’s a proud member of Santos Laguna, focused tightly on the team’s busy spring schedule and everything his  club has on its target of accomplishments. He said it’s difficult to look ahead.

From my standpoint, I can’t look that far, can’t look past this summer. … Right now I’m thinking about what it’s going to take to win the double this summer. After we do that, and after we do the national team, I’ll start thinking about my future. Santos has to come to a decision this summer, whether they want me to stay, whether they want me to go. Something is going to happen this summer. … I’ve been fortunate enough to come this far, been fortunate enough to see what I’ve seen, to have done what I’ve done. And this ride has been amazing. It will continue, and whatever is in store is in store. Right now I’m just enjoying life.

Gomez’s portion of the hour-long show linked above begins at about the 35-minute mark.

Zlatan confirms Manchester United departure

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed myriad reports he’s leaving Manchester United with a perfectly-Zlatan Instagram message.

Ibrahimovic is expected to join the LA Galaxy next week.

[ MORE: MLS All Stars vs. Juventus ]

The words aren’t too important, but Ibrahimovic posted an old graphic of him in Greek god garb, arm-wrestling a devil. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

The living Swedish legend, 36, has been limited to seven appearances, one start, and one goal in returning from a season-ending knee injury, but finishes his Manchester United tenure with an impressive 29 goals and 10 assists in 53 games (deduct the seven and one for peak impressiveness).

Bale breaks Wales scoring record

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Gareth Bale has now unquestionably written his name into Wales history.

The 28-year-old Real Madrid scored a hat-trick for Wales in its 6-0 demolition of China, taking his overall tally to 29 goals, breaking Ian Rush’s record.

“It is right up there, maybe as the best,” Bale told reporters after the game. “I suppose when I was a little boy I never dreamed of being a record-breaker for Wales. It is a massive honor. I was not thinking about it, but now it has come it’s an incredible honor and one of the best things I’ve achieved in my career. On a personal note it’s great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my team-mates.”

Bale was unable to carry Wales to the 2018 World Cup, but he first became a National Team legend by helping take Wales to the Euro 2016 semifinals, scoring three goals along the way.

Here’s a look at Bale’s record-breaking goal.

Sporting KC giving away creative “Bike Opara” bobblehead

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In his ninth Major League Soccer season, Ike Opara has scored just a dozen regular season goals.

He’s known more for his physicality in the backline, for creating space for teammates on set pieces, or heading balls on to teammates with slightly more fleeter feet.

But in June 2017, it all came together for Opara in a magical moment, where he beat an offside trap from the LA Galaxy and scored an insane bicycle kick for Sporting Kansas City.

Now, to honor Opara’s ridiculous goal, Sporting KC has announced the first 10,000 fans through the gates at Children’s Mercy Park on March 31 will get a “Bike Ike” bobblehead, with him in flight kicking the ball towards goal over his shoulder.

You’ve gotta love the creativity and fun the Sporting KC marketing department is having. Hopefully, Opara can give the team another memorable goal in 2018.

Van Dijk named new Netherlands captain

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Virgil Van Dijk has had a pretty decent last three months since moving to Liverpool, and the towering defender earned a new personal achievement on Thursday.

Van Dijk was named the newest captain of the Netherlands National Team, where he’ll play under former manager Ronald Koeman. Van Dijk’s first game as captain will be against the nation where he currently plies his trade, England, on Friday.

“I am very happy with it, it is a great honor to be the captain of your country,” van Dijk said at a pre-match press conference Thursday. “Everyone knows that Koeman gave me the chance at Southampton, I am very grateful to him. This is very special.”

Van Dijk’s commanding presence in the Liverpool backline and previous stops at Southampton and Celtic make him an obvious choice for captain, taking the place of the now-retired Arjen Robben. At just 26-years old, van Dijk could carry the armband for a half dozen years if he keeps up his strong form.