American Exports: Santos Laguna, Herculez Gomez face long odds after Cruz Azul dominate semi 1st leg

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Herculez Gomez is likely to get a little time off before he meets up with the US national team on May 26, after the forward’s Santos Laguna side lost 3-0 at home to Cruz Azul in the Liga MX semifinal first leg on Thursday.

Santos must win by four goals in Sunday’s return leg in the Estadio Azul to make next week’s finals. It’s an uphill task against an impressive and in-from Cruz Azul side.

Gomez switched between both wings during the first 25 minutes, but coach Pedro Caixinha’s tactical plans went out the window as Cruz Azul struck the first goal via Gerardo Flores' header in the second minute and doubled its lead through Pablo Barrera in the 24th.

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After that, Gomez played in his preferred position down the middle but had few openings in the face of the solid Cruz Azul defense.

The Los Angeles native pulled away from his marker and fired a low, dangerous cross that was cut out on the hour mark, while his best opportunity of the night came in the 75th minute when his struck a fierce volley into the hands of ‘keeper Jesús Corona. The American played the full 90 minutes in front of a packed Estadio Corona.

If Gomez does move on this summer – and there has been plenty of speculation – it may have been his last home game for the Guerreros.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.