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

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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.

EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)