American Exports: With CCL ahead, Club Tijuana's Herculez Gomez taking latest benching personally

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – For Club Tijuana striker Herculez Gomez, the LA Galaxy don't exist right now.

That's a sharp turn in perspective from two months ago, when the former Galaxy striker was eagerly looking forward to a highly anticipated CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against his old team on March 12.

“I’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Gomez told reporters this past Friday after Tijuana’s 3-0 home loss to Chiapas.

Higher up Gomez’s list of immediate priorities is next weekend at Veracruz and winning back a starting spot with Xolos.

On Friday, head coach César Farías sent on the US national team striker for just the last 13 minutes of the game, something which Gomez admits to being frustrated by, especially with US assistant coach Martin Vasquez watching on in the stadium.

“I’ve proven I can put the ball in the back of the net everywhere I’ve been," he said, "and when you’re down 3-0, you look at the clock, there’s only 15 minutes left and you’re still not in the game, that’s tough for anybody. I definitely take things like that personally.”

Gomez admitted that things haven’t gone his way since he signed with Tijuana in June 2013, with a knee operation hampering his Apertura 2013 season and this year having started without a goal.

“It’s tough pill to swallow, but I’m man enough to admit it,” he said. “I like having that chip on my shoulder, I like having to prove people wrong. This is just going to be another chapter in the story for me."

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