U.S. Men's National Team

Gomez prepares for potential USMNT call

HerculezGomez (ChivasUSA)


Chivas USA's full squad may have been on the road preparing for a mid-week match, but amongst their practice players was none other than Mexican League's goals leader and U.S. World Cup hopeful Herculez Gomez.

After a fantastic season with Puebla FC, the Las Vegas native is presently training with Chivas USA in order to build up his fitness ahead of a potential U.S. National team call up. With only a few days till the announcement of the preliminary 30 man roster on May 11th, Gomez is eager to return to peak match fitness.

"I want to make sure that I'm in shape and I don't want to lose that feeling that I had during the season and I want to keep it going," said Gomez. "I want to stay in shape because I know that nothing is guaranteed right now and I haven't heard anything right now so on my end I'm going to do everything that I can to be ready."

The 28-year-old forward finished the Clasura Bicentenario tournament with 10 goals allowing him the share of the Golden Boot, a performance that many have called the greatest ever by an American abroad. His performance not only made him the first American to lead the Primera Division in scoring, but also made him only the second member of Los Camoteros to hold the Campeón Goleador. Perhaps what makes Gomez's run so impressive is that many of his goals came off the bench, a role that many have suggested he could hold for the U.S. National Team.

"Coming off the bench, I thought if you want to eat, well this is what you had to do so you have to do," said Gomez. "Its great that all of this happened, but I'm not done and I need to keep that mentality going." 

After spending much of last preseason with little idea of where he would sign, this off season is looking very different for the Las Vegas native. Despite all the added attention, Gomez's focus right now is primarily on making the World Cup squad. 

"The season doesn't start for some time and thankfully not having any options last year prepared me for right now," said Gomez. "As opposed to when I had no offers three to four months ago, all of a sudden there are plenty and I'm at a good point in my career right now so I'm hoping to take advantage of it."

During his run at Puebla, Gomez kept tabs on another in form American striker on the World Cup bubble, Edson Buddle. Plying his trade for Gomez's former club the Los Angeles Galaxy, Edson Buddle has scored nine goals in six matches putting him second to only Herculez as the most in form American forward. Despite the shortage of spots, Gomez understands that the two strikers are not in competition. 

"I watched his tendencies and he's just a great player, he's just in unbelievable form right now," said Gomez. "But by no means do I think I compete with Edson because we are different players, but I understand that the chances of us going (to South Africa) are slim."

One aspect that should benefit the striker should he travel to the World Cup is Puebla's immense altitude. A city surrounded by volcanoes and mountain ranges in the Valley of Cuetlaxcoapan, the city sits 7,000 feet above sea level, making the altitude of South Africa little concern for Gomez. 

"It's the third-highest elevation in all of Mexico and with the combination of altitude and pollution; it really takes a toll on your lungs," said Gomez. "But, I've got a good set of lungs under my chest."

Throughout the entire journey of the past year, from his doubts of where he was going to play this year to soaring to the heights of the Mexican league, Gomez has done his best to remain grounded and remain thankful for all that he has accomplished. 

"I'd retire if I got called up, going to the World Cup is just the best thing possible." joked Gomez. "Honestly, though I'm just an kid from Vegas who didn't have all the advantages that the kids from Southern California had and I had to chase the American dream by going somewhere else so to experience what I've experienced is more than I can ask for.

I'm just happy for this opportunity."

  • patrick

    Do we know what the question asked was?
    If he was asked “have you been invited to the camp?” then his response is no cause for alarm. However, if the question was more, “what has bob bradley told you during your run in mexico?” or something to that effect then it would be a problem. I think the fact that he’s training with chivas means he knows he’s got an excellent chance at being called in, and not because blogs or reporters told him so. I could be wrong, but I don’t think bob would opt not to speak to the young man. Perhaps his connections at chivas is why he’s training there? Thats pure speculation, he hasn’t been there for 4 years, im sure the turnover rate is high at that club…


  • DaveW

    Some Googling gives an altitude of about 7100 ft, a little less than Mexico City, in turn less than Pachuca, in turn less than Toluca, and similar to Morelia.

    I’m very open to correction, but of the 18 teams currently in Mexico’s 1st division, it appears only 5 are not at altitude, with the rest at 5000 ft(3 Guadalajara sides)or above.


  • El Torito

    Is great to discuss on our cowards and attacking mid. But tell me… if there any last minute miracle backline. I read someplace about bringing borstein back. Really? No hope on the back line? Help. Me out people.


  • Clayton

    I’m thinking Depmsey, Altidore, Davies and Buddle/Gomez should be up top for next month’s tourney. Lando can play up top also if need be.

    Coach Bradley knows what he’s doin. He pretends like he has no idea, but I think he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for this summaaa!

    Go Yanks!!!


  • DaveW

    According to the “Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía México” Pachuca is only 2000 meters, about 6600 ft, so not nearly as high as I thought. Sorry about not seeking better sources to begin with.


  • Second City

    If I understood your question correctly:

    It’s my understanding Bob Bradley is leaning towards rotating some players depending on the opponent throughout the World Cup.

    What you’re likely to see, Examples:

    Bocanegra – DeMerit – Onyewu – Spector

    Bornstein – Bocanegra – Onyewu – Cherundolo

    I think we’ll see a some sort of combination and interchanging of the above, during the Cup.


  • Micah King

    I just hope we win these two friendlies. I want revenge on Czech Republic for 2006. They not even a good team. I hope Davies gets well and all our Yanks continue to play and improve and learn something new everyday to improve. GO U.S.A. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • El Torito

    With Onyewu fresh out of the injury list, bornstein not functioning well, and Bocanegra lack of blocking a shot. Who else is there?


  • Jack

    I’m not sure why Gomez doesn’t think he and Buddle can make the squad. I think with Davies injuries there is a very good chance both will make the squad. How bout Jozy Altidore, Brian Ching, Gomez and Buddle.

    Click on my name for an updated world cup bracket calculator. I modified it so one can adjust the points that are awarded for a correct pick.


  • patrick

    i agree. Don’t know who he is, but his pieces are always well written


  • Eurosnob

    Frankly, despite their goal scoring achievements, both Gomez and Buddle are long shots to play in South Africa this summer. But they have a chance and should both be invited to the camp. I actually think that Buddle has a slight advantage because he plays on the same team with Donovan and is scoring in a more physical league. I am not suggesting that Mexican league is inferior to MLS, but MLS defenders are generally bigger and more physical than defenders in Mexican league and the refs allow more physical play. If you look at the group, US is playing two very physical and disciplined teams (England and Slovenia). I don’t know much about the current Algerian team, but I would not be surprised if their defenders also play a more physical style than defenders in the Mexican league.


  • Eurosnob

    Dude, chill out – it’s just a friendly game. If you want revenge, wait until they play a meaningful game (the world cup or another competitive tournament).


  • Supsam

    I hate to sound like a smartass but it has to be said. Training/playing in altitude (Puebla) means nothing to your body if you go and train back in Carson, CA. The effects of training in altitude disappear after less than a week as the body readjusts to the new lower altitude. So at the moment for Gomez, his body is back to normal is if he never trained in altitude at all.


  • Lu

    why not take both and leave bummy Brian Ching home…?
    if i were bradley, i’d start buddle because he already has chemistry with donovan….it’d be important for a new face on the national team to play alongside someone he’s accustomed to playing with on the club side…..and Gomez has been a scoring machine off the bench, why not give him that role?


  • Jerome

    I watched his game vs Olympiakos…..he was playing his way through the Champions league Olympiakos defenders like they were not even there. Thats a Huge plus going for Adu.


  • BetaMale

    I’m with you dood. I was at our last game against Czech in the Cup and it was one of the darkest days of my life.


  • joejoe

    I agree. Davies is not fit. He can’t go. I would like to see Adu and Beasley make the team. I hope Gomez does as well. I’m not sure about EJ, but he’s playing well and scoring goals. EJ is better than Buddle.

    I think Gomez should stay in Mexico, where he can actually get playing time. If I were him I would never return to MLS.


  • joejoe

    There’s no such thing as Latino. It’s not a nationality, a race, or even define ethnicity. Gomez is an American. His parents are Mexican. Technically Mexico considers him a citizen as well. He’s still American. Nothing wrong with that.

    (SBI-Sorry JoeJoe, but you’re wrong. Latino is an ethnic group and is the same as Hispanic (which was the term used by the USA to identify the ethnic group until 1997, when Latino became formally recognized as being the same thing). Gomez is a Mexican-American, a Latino-American, a Hispanic-American and an American. he can be all of the above.)


  • Alejandro Castelan

    Do you happen to know how and why Gomez ended up specifically with Puebla to begin with? Also, I love this article, especially since you mention Puebla which is near and dear to my heart.


  • Samuraise

    I think we really do need to forget about Ching or Casey for the supposed “hold-up play” they are to provide. Against world class international competition there will seldom be a chance for such “holding up”… our best chance is to counter with speed and precision… not this hold-up nonsense. I say take Jozy, Buddle, Gomez and Davies. They give us the best chance to score… Casey and Ching do not…. if we were still in CONCACAF, yes, they are useful but not at the WC level


  • Chopper

    Plus, Gomez is used to scoring off the bench. If Dempsey and Altidore start up top for the USMNT, that will mean that Gomez will be in a similar position for the WC if he makes the squad. He has shown time and time again that he can come into a game late and still make a difference. He needs to be on this squad.


  • ted s

    Gomez, thank you for the inspiration! I’m praying you make the team every day…Com’n Bradly Gomez is your man…Gomez has worked with Donovan as well… 2005 Galaxy double title victors…Shot down in one league only to reappear on the top of another with titles no other American has ever won… PLEASE… put Gomez in the game!


  • Josh D

    I’d take an inform, physical striker who is known (at least recently) for making things happen off the bench than a player who has more ups and downs than a wave.

    Gomez for me takes it by a long shot. Buddle is good, but not physical enough for the WC. We need presence and as we won’t be dominating any games, Buddle will not be getting the kind of service his play depends on.


  • Manny F

    The fact that you got players like Buddle and Gomez who went through their playing issues, makes you wonder how much of that was actually their problem and not the MLS coaching style.


  • Dontreadondeuce

    I’m with you. Gomez has excelled by making things happen in limited minutes, which is likely what Gomez or Buddle would be getting if they made the roster.


  • Ian

    I totally agree on the “hold-up play” part.

    As far as who to take, I’m not gonna say who I think should go until after the friendlies when they (hopefully) get some proper playing time against decent teams, but I like the names you listed.


  • Joe

    My 30:

    1. Tim Howard

    2. Marcus Hahnemann

    3. Oguchi Onyewu

    4. Jay Demerit

    5. Jonathan Spector

    6. Jonathan Bornstein

    7. Heath Pearce

    8. Clarence Goodson

    9. Michael Bradley

    10. Benny Feilhaber

    11. Landon Donovan

    12. Clint Dempsey

    13. Maurice Edu

    14. Ricardo Clark

    15. Jose Francisco Torres

    16. Demarcus Beasley

    17. Alejandro Bedoya

    18. Stuart Holden

    19. Charlie Davies

    20. Josmer Altidore

    21. Brian Ching

    22. Herculez Gomez

    23. Edson Buddle

    24. Steve Cherundolo

    25. Carlos Bocanegra

    26. Freddy Adu

    27. Eddie Johnson

    28. Frankie Hejduk

    29. Brad Guzan

    30. Robbie Rogers


  • DC Josh

    Great article Adam.

    The US team is constructed with players like Herculez. There are no big egos, just hard working Americans. He will certainly have his chance to shnine beginning next week. I can’t wait, thank God the semester is over next week so I can spend every day following the action in Princeton.


  • sread

    Your whole thesis statement is jacked up.


    It should be the other way around. EJ has boatloads of potential and raw skills, but has typically underachieved everywhere but MLS. The other two are more like hard workers who grind their goals out.


  • bryan

    he tweeted that villarreal didnt release him since they have games still. lets hope he doesnt get the call anyway ;) haha


  • josip

    They may not think its revenge, but if we kick their trash before the WC, then go out and win some games in SA while they’re all sitting at home…maybe it will give us some satisfaction in the end.


  • Mike

    Yes….he’s always shone in bright, blinking lights at any stop he’s ever been, especially with the Nats. I mean, did you see how he tore it up against second-class competition in the Gold Cup?

    Oh wait…that wasn’t Freddy?

    Time to stop talking about the kid until he does something. Anything. And I don’t mean playing every fourth game in the Greek first division.


  • NC Jeff

    Does it represent any kind of knock on MLS if one, or especially, both don’t go to South Africa … since one used to play there, and the other’s lighting it up?


  • Josh D

    Report back to us please if you’re there! (I know you have a sneaking cam so you can see what’s happening behind closed doors!)


  • Jerome

    Wow, That was the worst response maybe in history?

    Adu slicing through Champions league defenders in April 2010 has nothing to do with an out of form Adu in July 2009.


  • joejoe

    I see you’ve been looking at wikipedia. Latino is a stupid term that doesn’t define a thing. Just because the US government put it in some form doesn’t mean its correct. Mexican-American defines nationality, Hispanic-American is a Spanish speaking American (ethnicity). Latino-American is just a moronic term. It means nothing. I speak Spanish not Latin.

    (SBI-JoeJoe, your ignorance is disturbing. As a former president of the Organization for Latino Unity at my college I’m pretty sure I’ve got more knowledge on this subject than you do. Saying Hispanic-American is a Spanish-Speaking American but Latino-American is a “moronic term” shows just how clueless you are on the subject. You don’t speak Hispanic, so that point was pretty silly as well. Actually, the funniest thing you said was “Just because the US government put it in some form doesn’t mean its correct”. Who do you think came up with the term Hispanic to identify the ethnic group in the first place?

    Let me ask you this Joe Joe, Eres Hispanic o eres Latino? Wait, don’t answer that, maybe you can figure it out now.

    People are entitled to using Hispanic or Latino, just don’t sit there saying one is “moronic”. You only sound moronic saying so.

    If you want to discuss the subject further feel free to email me. Otherwise, I would suggest sticking to talking soccer on here.)


  • madmax

    In a recent interview, Bradley deftly played down Gomez’ accomplishments for both Galaxy and Puebla. Did something happen when Herc was at Galaxy that got under Bradley’s skin? I’m thinking of what Bradley did to Orozco and JFT when they f….d up.


  • madmax

    Not to pick sides but to add to the argument.
    The Census has had trouble labeling race and/or ethnicity on their forms for some time. Many respondents do not want to be labeled as directed, I hear. They prefer a generic, ‘mixed’ or an exact ‘asian/african’ label than to those offered. I can see why a US citizen of Mexican descent doesn’t like the Hispanic, or Latino label.


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