After coming back from injury, it didn’t take Herculez Gomez long to get back amongst the goals… not long at all.
On his return to action for Club Tijuana, the US national team striker smashed in a hat trick in his opening 45 minutes of play, to help the Xolos beat Victoria 6-0 and set up a potential top seed for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Gomez has been out of action since July 17, but came on at half time with Tijuana already 3-0 up to add some extra gloss to the scoreline.
The 31-year-old striker, who made the switch north from Santos Laguna over the summer, scored all his goals in 25 second half minutes to give USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann a timely reminder that he is still around.
Gomez needs a good season in Liga MX, as he aims to make the US World Cup squad in Brazil. We all know what he’s capable of, so does Klinsmann, but Gomez has some pretty stiff competition with the like of Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson, Aron Johannsson and others all battling with Jozy Altidore to bolster the Nats forward options.
But Gomez has arguably been overtaken as second-choice US striker in recent months, with EJ playing well and the Johannsson really making a name for himself in the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar. At least Klinsi has plenty of time to make a decision, between now and next June is a long-time in soccer and there will be plenty of friendlies and World Cup qualifiers to test Gomez and others out. And it’s a great headache for Klinsmann to have.
I for one am glad to see Herc finally back in action and smashing some goals in. Let’s hope his spectacular comeback game sets him up for a spectacular season south of the border. He needs it, but so might the USA.
Watch his second half hat trick below, courtesy of our good pals at CONCACAF.