Hérculez Gómez has made U.S. soccer history by becoming the first American ever to finish atop the goal scoring charts in a top-flight league overseas.
Now it remains to be seen if U.S. National Team Head Coach Bob Bradley can ignore this lofty record when it comes time to name his roster for World Cup camp, which kicks off on May 15.
The regular season of the Mexican Primera División concluded on Sunday and Gomez is the official goal scoring champion, finishing in a three-way tie with Manchester United’s newest acquisition, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Atlante’s Johan Fano. The trio netted 10 goals each since the season kicked off in January.
It’s worth noting that no Mexican has ever come close to capturing the scoring title in Major League Soccer.
What makes Gómez’s historic campaign even more impressive is the fact that he reached his 10 goals playing the fewest minutes and making fewer starts than any of his competitors. In fact he scored half of his goals coming off the bench, starting only six of the 15 matches in which he appeared.
Gómez, who concluded his first season in Mexico’s top flight, scored at a rate of one goal every 76 minutes. Hernández, by comparison, played in 134 more minutes and Fano saw time in 411 more minutes.
It is fair to point out that the 10 goals over the 17 rounds of league play were the fewest number to lead the goal scoring charts in the history of Mexico’s “short” seasons.
Until Friday afternoon Gómez still had hopes of playing in the season finale and adding to his goals total. That’s when the Mexican league’s Disciplinary Commission upheld a one-game ban for a red card he received in last weekend’s match against Cruz Azul.
With Chivas Guadalajara’s Hernández having joined Mexico’s World Cup camp and Gómez suspended, Fano was the only one of the three with a chance at claiming the top spot for his own. However, he could only score an own goal in his club’s season finale on Friday night.
The 28-year-old Gómez missed out on Puebla’s 2-1 loss at Toluca on Sunday. The club closed the Torneo Bicentenario 2010 with a record of 5-8-4 (19pts), missing out on the Mexican postseason by just six points.
Gómez told Mexican media that he plans on donating the Golden Boot trophy to Puebla in order that it be kept in the club’s trophy case.
He also said he plans on resuming individual training in Los Angeles beginning next week in the hope of a call-up from Bradley.