MLS- Toronto FC

Monday Morning Center Back: Has Christian Gomez priced himself out of MLS?


                                                    Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning all. It was a pretty quiet weekend (well except for the FA Cup, African Cup of Nations, Serie A and La Liga) but action should pick up on the U.S. front this week (as well as the European market).

One of the bigger stories this week will be the shopping of Christian Gomez, who is officially on his way out of D.C. now that D.C. United has locked in on Argentine playmaker Marcelo Gallardo. Steve Goff reported on Sunday night that Gallardo has already arrived in the nation’s capital. That sound you hear is Christian Gomez calling U-Haul.

The list of suitors for Gomez, which at one point consisted of half of the teams in the league, shrunk considerably once it became clear that Gomez was unwilling to budge from a demand of a two-year guaranteed contract at a maximum salary of $400,000. The 33-year-old midfielder is seeking some security but teams aren’t in a hurry to tie up a big chunk of their salary on a player who some feel won’t be worth the investment in a year’s time.

One team that dropped out of the race for Gomez was Toronto FC. TFC coach Mo Johnston is a fan of Gomez and wanted to pair him up with Maurice Edu, but ultimately the $400,000 guaranteed contract in 2009 was the deal-breaker.

So who IS interested? There is at least one team still in the hunt. The list of interested teams keeps on shrinking.

Real Salt Lake, with its own collection of three young Argentines, was looking to include Gomez to the mix and potentially have a central midfield trio of Gomez, Kyle Beckerman and Nathan Sturgis (with Javier Morales pegged for a wing role). Unfortunately for RSL, Gomez’s demand of two years guaranteed has also become a sticking point.

Would it be a good investment for RSL? That depends on what you think he has left. Gomez finished last season with 10 goals and nine assists, reaching those totals for the third straight season. He is still a game-changing player, but last year he did show signs of slowing down a bit. That said, he is still one of the league’s best playmakers and a player whose charisma will make him a fan favorite wherever he goes.

I think RSL is in a better position to gamble than most because I just don’t see the club signing a designated player in the next year or two. So why not give Gomez two years guaranteed and let him mentor the young Argentines, and other young players such as Robbie Findley and Nathan Sturgis? You figure with Beckerman and Sturgis behind him in a 3-5-2, Gomez wouldn’t have to do as much running and could give RSL two solid years.

Whether it is RSL, Colorado or Chivas, somebody should find a way to keep Gomez in the league. He’s too talented and too genuine to let leave. Yes, it will be a gamble to give him a second guaranteed year at $400,000, but it is a gamble that could pay off in a big way.

(UPDATE)- You can scratch RSL off the list of suitors for Gomez. Real Salt Lake is committing to Javier Morales as its playmaker and has pulled out of the Christian Gomez sweepstakes. Who does that leave? Chivas USA and Colorado make the most sense but it remains to be seen whether either team will commit max dollars to a player Gomez’s age. Colorado needs him the most.

What do you think about Gomez going to RSL? Share your thoughts below.

  • papa bear

    with as heinous as RSL has been the last 2 years (they did improve a bit near the end last year) they need all the help they can get.
    I have to believe they have some allocation cash left from the Adu deal as well so they have to be in position to make it happen.
    They should do it. I think he’s still a very good player.


  • Hudson_Street

    how sexy would a Schelloto/ Gomez center midfield look from C-bus?? Just a thought.


  • Still Kicking

    Any possibility of confirming the rumour that Mo and TFC are pursuing both Darren Huckerby and Stefano Fiore and this would be a factor in not seeking Gomez ??


  • Jeff

    Seems like he would be a perfect fit in New England with Joseph and Gomez in the midfield. The departures of Dempsey and Dorman in the past two years also make that position wide open. Plus, they havn’t even cracked the money they got from Dempsey’s transfer, so that shouldnt be a problem.


  • Johnny


    New England will never make a play for Gomez b/c they are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. I suppose if this were for their other footbal team this would already be a done deal.


  • Moneyball

    If this were for New England’s football team, they’d have gotten Gomez for a Supplemental 3rd rounder in 09.


  • usnavysrchief

    New England are just a poor Excuse of a Soccer Club and are Giving the MLS a very BAD name overseas!!!!! They just turned down 3million for Taylor Twellmen. Unbelieveable!!!!!!! 3million for Twellman that is a lot more than they can possibly ever expect to get for him. Preston North End’s Website is all over Twellman but NE is making us all look like A–. Such a shame for TT. May not get another chance. Bet he wishes he had waited to sign that contract!!


  • Brian

    As far as Gomez to RSL goes, I don’t know how happy he’d be on the turf for most or possibly all of this season.

    As far as him mentoring the young players, how much mentoring did he do in DC? I’m not trying to be negative, but I’m not sure if that was his role. Especially when he seems focused solely on his financial future (not blaming him, just the reality) in his current contract search.


  • Garber

    The question should be:

    “Is MLS’s salary cap too low?”

    Answer: Yes, it’s TOO DAMN LOW. It should be about $4-5 million at this point but stingies like Robert Kraft and probably a couple others are holding that up.

    That’s the real deal holyfield,


  • realslfan

    First of all this isn’t going to happen. RSL already has a talented midfield with Beckerman, Sturgis, Morales and the incoming Cordoba. Except for Sturgis all are experienced players and need no mentoring from Gomez. Secondly, with the price attached this would be a bad business decision.
    Finally if DC did not make an attempt to re-sign Gomez (I haven’t followed this closely to know if that is the case), then they would not retain the rights and RSL (or any other team) would not be required to compensate.


  • Mickey

    Following-up on realslfan comments:

    1) DC has been negotiating with Gomito since last pre-season (i.e., December 2006) – before Juan Seabstian Veron rumors and before Gallindo ever being mentioned.

    2) The expiration of player’s contracts with specific teams does not result in automatic free agency. DC would receive some sort of compensation if Gomito were to sign with someone else.


  • Ives

    Realslfan, what would lead you to believe that DC doesn’t have Gomez’s rights? They negotiated with Gomez and his contract expired. He was never waived. There is no free agency in MLS. Gomez is DC property in MLS this year unless his rights are traded.

    As for whether he would help RSL, I’ll disagree with you there. There is no reason why Gomez, Beckerman, Sturgis, Morales and Cordoba can’t play together.

    Nice to hear an RSL fan sound so confident about his club though. Good stuff.


  • Barry U

    I saw the article on TT on the PNE website. They are willing to break the club record fee for a him. WOW! Is it me or does PNE know something about TT we don’t? I know he scores in MLS but when he playes for the USMNT he is not a huge factor. I think his agent sold him short when negotiating with the MLS. EJ had language in his contract that a fee of more than $X would set him free. TT’s agent should of thought about that.


  • Hincha Tim

    I think you really hit at the crux of the matter, whether it would be worth signing Gomez at his age or not: what will he bring to the table as far as leadership and mentoring. If he brought exceptional qualities in those fields, I think it might be worth it for RSL to take a chance on him still having some gas left in the tank. But part of that depends on RSL’s salaries of its other players. I also believe for $400K RSL might be able to bring in a top flight Argentine 10 who is a little younger (Rolfe Montenegro?). However, I do believe that RSL needs a strong stablizing captain/leader on the field.


  • Mickey

    Following-up on Hincha Tim’s comments…

    DC United fan here. I agree that RSL needs a veteran presence on the field and in the locker room to pull everything together; however, I don’t think Gomez is the man for such a character. He still does not speak English and sat second chair in terms of moral leader/talisman at DCU to Jaime Moreno and Ben Olson. Although Gomez may ultimately prove to be such a player, he hasn’t been in a position at DCU to shine in such a capacity.


  • ZX

    Twellman can play at the MLS level and Championsip level but he doesn’t think quick enough for the game at the International level, which is why he doesn’t score for the national team.

    Seriously, playing in MLS or the Championship is much different than playing for the Nats.


  • DCUInWheaton

    Thanks for the Gomez update Ives.

    I, for one, really hope that Real Salt Lake or some other MLS team finds a way to fit Gomez onto its roster. He is a tremendous talent who, apparently, wants to end his career in MLS, so I hope something happens.


  • Craig

    I back up realslfan, in that, RSL does not need to spend near DP money for a midfield that is already full of talent with solid veteran depth. That type of money for RSL needs to go to a striker. I would be skeptical for that much money going to defender, as well. They have signed Ian Joy and another defender is on his way from Colombia.


  • vasco

    It is a shame that teams can’t show loyalty to players because of the salary cap.

    A guy who is a three time best 11 selection, a former mvp, and led the team to an mls cup and two supporters shields, should be shown some loyalty.

    what he is asking for isn’t that bad, except trying to fit it into a salary cap. MLs really needs to look at this. there isn’t a whole lot of these guys in the league.


  • DG

    Why wouldn’t San Jose look to join the mix? They should have the money available, and they could certainly benefit from his addition to the lineup. So are they not interested in him because of the money or because they have another midfielder targeted?


  • Mickey

    Response to Vasco:

    It’s not a matter of loyalty or salary cap when it comes to the impasse with Gomito. He is looking for a heavy salary GUARANTEED over two years at his age. DCU has been trying to work with him with numbers just below the $400K threshold but he is looking for two guaranteed years at that range. As an example of the kind of loyalty doled out by DCU, they just extended Jaime Moreno’s contract for another year (although at a lower salary which is reasonable given that a player’s output can be expected to decline much quicker during the latter years of their MLS career while MLS continues to get faster and better each year).


  • Tim F.

    The Red Bulls need an attacking midfielder but does the team have a better option, like that Uruguayan playmaker?


  • Scott C

    Another case of the salary cap sending a good player overseas. He’ll have to join Noonan and head overseas to get the money he deserves. He’s a great player and lots of teams would want him, and he wants to stay in MLS, but no team can afford him…it’s so frustrating for fans who want to see the league improve, for every good player that comes in, another is lost. He may be getting older, but he can certainly get that kind of money in another league. If you look at some of the other players making that kind money (e.g. Ruiz), there is no doubt that he deserves it…


  • BigWave

    Colorado is cheap. Chivas USA will step up with some of that Guzan money and a draft pick. Colorado might need a playmaker to get into the playoffs, but with Chivas USA in the Champs League, they’ll be just as eager to get a playmaker with the experience of Gomez. You heard it here first.


  • The DC Admin

    We will not give Christian to anybody in our conference, plain and simple.

    Christian has a standing offer overseas for 600k, if he doesn’t get the second year here, he’ll take that.

    If we don’t get a player from Colorado (of a Terry Cooke caliber) we aren’t making the trade. We have plenty of allocation money and we don’t really focus much on the draft.


  • Teddy

    I think you can scratch off Chivas USA on the list too. As I think Colorado is near a deal…


  • Nick from Big Soccer

    I think Gomez is pricing himself out of alternatives. While I understand his desire at this point in his career to get a significant payday, its important that his next move begin to set up post playing alternatives.

    Had Gomez been more flexible on these items, I think while he may have gotten less in guarenteed money, in longer run he would have set himself up for a number of other types of positions within MLS.


  • Matt Y

    Ives…if you ever talk to Gomez…please let him know that he’ll be missed in DC. Sucks to lose him..I guess with the track record of our front office then we should trust that they know what they are doing.

    I agree…he is too good to let leave the MLS…


  • Eugene

    I agree with BigWave, Chivas USA should pick up Gomez. He would fit perfectly into the planned 4-3-3 for next season. Chivas USA are in three competitions next year (MLS, SuperLiga and CONCACAF Champions League), so the team could definitely use another proven goal scorer who is also probably good for 10+ assists in a season.

    I think with the addition of Gomez, Chivas USA would be making a strong run at some silverware in 08.

    As for who they would trade for Gomez — I don’t think DCU has much leverage anymore. Either they let the guy go on a free transfer and get nothing, or they trade him to another team for something. Since the list of teams that are willing to bet on him for two guaranteed seasons has been considerably reduced, it’s not as if one team will likely outbid the others.

    To get some allocation money and a first or second round draft pick next year would be a good deal for DC. Obviously Terry Cooke would be a better deal, but who knows if Colorado is willing to make that trade.

    Even if DC doesn’t incorporate their draft pick into their team next season, they may be able to sell him abroad like they did with Bryan Arguez this year.


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