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American Exports: Tijuana coach stresses Herculez Gomez's importance to Xolos despite injury

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – If Herculez Gomez wasn’t already champing at the bit to return to the field from his knee injury, he got an extra incentive from Club Tijuana coach Jorge Almirón’s recent comments.

The Xolos boss lauded Gomez as a key part of his team’s offense and said he was brought into the club to start games.

“Herculez and [Argentine striker] Dario [Benedetto] were signed to be starters, when they recover they will be in charge of the team’s attacking work,” said Almirón in quotes carried by MedioTiempo.com on Wednesday.

Tijuana has had an unusually high number of injury problems this season, but players have gradually been returning and after next weekend, Gomez – who is tentatively scheduled to return in mid-September – will be the only first-team player left on the injury table.

Xolos are battling in both Liga MX and the CONCACAF Champions League this season and face an important game Wednesday in the latter competition, when they play Salvadoran outfit L.A. Firpo in the Estadio Caliente (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

A victory for Tijuana will secure the border-town team a place in the knockout stages of the continental competition.

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