Maybe you’ve heard by now, but Herculez Gomez is pretty good.
Last night, the Santos Laguna forward scored his eighth goal of the year. That’s not ‘of the season.’ That’s of the calendar year. Since joining the Guerreros for Clausura, the U.S. international has scored five times in the Primera, three more times in Champions League – eight goals in 2012.
Though his recent exploits have garnered new attention, this kind of output isn’t new for Gomez. Many remember him as the player who scored 11 goals for LA in 2005 before hopping around the league. Stops in Colorado and Kansas City never saw Gomez come close to replicating an 18-goal all-competition total that helped LA to a league-cup double. Put 2005 aside, and Gomez only tallied 12 MLS goals between 2003 and 2009 (92 games).
Now in his third year in Mexico, Gomez has scored has 27 goals in 68 appearances between Puebla, Pachuca, Tecos, and Santos Laguna. To put that in (a weird) perspective, it’s one more goal than Clint Dempsey has scored in the Premier League since 2010 (26 goals, 76 games).
Mexico’s not the Premier League, Gomez is an all-and-out forward – there are a number of ways to explain away that comparison. But consider all the deserved attention Dempsey’s received for his exploits. Maybe Gomez deserves a little of that attention?
Fans are starting to take notice. Every time Gomez scores, there are murmurs throughout twitter: Should he be called up to the national team? When Gomez scored three over two legs against the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League, those murmurs became yells.
Perhaps memories of fledgling times have kept Gomez off the USMNT map. True, he benefited from a thin forward pool to get a surprise call-up for South Africa, appearing three times at the 2010 World Cup. Since, he’s again drifted out of focus, though it’s about time that changed.
World Cup qualifying starts in June, and when it does, it will be very difficult to argue Gomez is not one of the top two-or-three strikers in the U.S. pool.