Gomez forcing his way onto U.S. World Cup radar

Gomez forcing his way onto U.S. World Cup radar

U.S. Men's National Team

Gomez forcing his way onto U.S. World Cup radar

Herculez Gomez (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIphotos.com


 For most Major League Soccer fans who have followed the closely for the past few years, the following sentence may not make much sense, and may leave many wondering if April Fool's came early this year, only it has not.

Herculez Gomez cannot stop scoring goals.

The former Kansas City Wizards forward/midfielder has scored six goals in his past seven matches for Mexican first division side Puebla since joining the club on a free transfer in January. Some goals have come as a starter, some as a substitute. Some have come in blowout losses, some have come late in matches to either win or equalize. Some have been headers, others with his feet.

Regardless of how they're coming or when they're coming, the fact is goals are coming in bunches for Gomez and now the inevitable question must be asked.

Should he be considered for the U.S. World Cup team?

Absolutely.

Gomez's hot streak hasn't punched his ticket to South Africa just yet, but his form cannot be ignored and regardless of the defensive frailties of the Mexican league, Gomez is doing something that no other American forward is doing regularly at the moment. He is scoring goals.

The U.S. national team doesn't have the luxury to look past a prospect like Gomez, not when the other options in the forward pool have done little to secure their spots. Aside from Jozy Altidore, who projects as a starter, who else is a lock to make the team? You can argue that a healthy Brian Ching should make the squad, and everyone knows that Charlie Davies will and should be on the team if he's fully recovered in time, but after that it is a wide-open race.

Jeff Cunningham and Robbie Findley both scored in droves in MLS last season, with Cunningham leading the league in goals, but neither did all that much to impress in game action in recent friendlies, leaving the race wide open at forward.

Bradley is no stranger to Gomez, having called him up to be part of the 2007 Copa America squad, but the coach has had little reason to keep following Gomez considering he became a relative non-entity during stints with the Colorado Rapids and Wizards, which has made Gomez' recent renaissance all the more stunning.

It's not as if Gomez has never been a quality goal scorer before. He scored 12 league goals on the 2005 MLS Cup-winning Los Angeles Galaxy (including playoffs), but he could only match that total in his next four MLS seasons combined.

So which player is Gomez, the ineffective player we saw in MLS the past two seasons, or the fearless striker and quality finisher we saw glimpses of in 2005 and are seeing again in Mexico now? While Bradley is currently in Europe scouting national team players, he has probably already dispatched a scout to Mexico to see just how real the red-hot Gomez is. If Gomez keeps it up, Bradley will probably need to head to Mexico himself to find out.

Bradley will need to find out because as unsettled as the forward position is, the U.S. team can't afford to overlook anybody, least of all a player who has clearly found his goal-scoring form.

————-

What do you think of Gomez's recent scoring streak? Think he deserves a look for the U.S. national team? Still not convinced he can help?

Share your thoughts below.

More from

More SBI
Home