U.S. striker Herculez Gomez: hullabaloo and criticism no biggie

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DENVER – Who doesn’t love U.S. striker Herculez Gomez?

The Las Vegas native’s soccer career is a tale dogged persistence. Things were just OK during his time in Major League Soccer, but Gomez just kept moving forward, kept trying harder, kept looking for more. (Which he has found in hammering out a fruitful career in Mexico’s Liga MX.)

The U.S. coaching staff loves Gomez because his energy, desire and work rate bother defenses, creating opportunities that might not otherwise arrive. (They’ll need every little smidgen of fire and desire, hustle and bustle and everything in between in Friday’s World Cup qualifier outside Denver.)

He’s active with fans and members of the press through social media.

And now the man is helping tamp down the brush fires that threaten to ignite Camp Klinsmann with a healthy dose of perspective.

About all the holler and hullabaloo over Carlos Bocanegra, quirky roster choices, unresolved tactical tenets, etc., Gomez sees it as rather quaint. He called the U.S. press corps “teddy bears” compared to the flesh-eating grizzlies of most soccer-mad lands, including Mexico.

Among the great stuff he shared with MLSSoccer.com:

It’s funny, they’re making a bit of a hoopla about it right now. It’s almost, in a sense, cute, you know?

… we live in such a great country where you guys [the media] even have dialogue with us and things can be easily worked through. I think this, for us, is a learning experience. We will be a better team for it.”

I love it – I love it. It’s about time. It’s about damn time you guys took some interest and you guys started asking some tough questions. I think that shows us growing as a footballing nation, I really do.”

Gomez mentioned Brian Straus by name. Straus is the Sporting News writer whose provocative piece on Tuesday exposed or aggressively amplified a conversation that had been contained to media back room whispers to that point. Gomez said this stuff, provocative and dramatic as it might be, is a necessary and even helpful part of the game’s growth curve here.

Whether the writer’s theories and his sources are right or wrong, these conversations are critical, Gomez believes, even if just for the additional public chatter. Having the discussion is what matters.

… this country needs that exposure. This country needs football to matter. And I think that’s great.”