Announced late last night, USMNT forward Herculez Gomez has left Santos Laguna and signed for Liga MX rivals Club Tijuana.
Xolos have added 31-year-old Gomez, after the Mexican-American had just one year left on his deal with Santos. And Gomez will now return to tormenting MLS sides in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League(great), with Tijuana announced in Group 7 during Monday’s draw.
So with Herculez finding a new home and moving to his fifth Liga MX side in just three years since joining Puebla in 2010, is it the right place for him?
Many were hoping Gomez would make it back to Major League Soccer and right a few wrongs. But the salaries on offer in Mexico, coupled with his familiarity with the league, were probably a big factor in his decision. Plus Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly be impressed to see Gomez link up with Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo and co. Gomez’ USMNT future may be brighter with Xolos?
Gomez isn’t one of the biggest names in Liga MX, but when it comes to value for money he may be one of the biggest steals.
During his time at Santos he played 45 times, scoring 13 goals in the league and nine in CCL action. Before that he scored 22 goals in 60 games for Puebla, Pachuca and Estudiantes Tecos. Santos announced his move to Tijuana with the following tweet:
A proven finisher who has scored goals wherever he has gone, Gomez will be part of a new look forward line at Club Tijuana. Head coach Antonio Mohamed has left Xolos and fellow Argentine Jorge Almirón is now in charge, while Tijuana’s strikers Alfredo Moreno and Duvier Riascos are on the way out. So Gomez will have a tough task to try and emulate the success Tijuana have had over the past few seasons.
Is this a step down for Gomez? Not really. Yes, he is leaving a club that contested in the CCL final during the past two years but Xolos just lost out agonizingly on a place in the Copa Libertadores semifinals. They’re a quality side, where Gomez will be expected to chip in with goals right away and lead the line. He scored six times during the last CCL campaign and Gomez will be looking forward to spearheading Tijuana’s charge against the top MLS sides this season.
Gomez will join six other US players at Tijuana, as the north Mexican club increase their interest to US soccer fans in nearby California and further afield.