GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Herculez Gomez has banged in goals at a faster rate than anyone else in the Mexican Primera División this season, but he believes that unless he can win a place in the starting lineup for Estudiantes Tecos, a return to the US national team is unlikely.
“I can't think national team if I'm still trying to crack the club,” Gomez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “I've got to kill one bird before I can get to the next. There's no two with one stone at the moment.”
After three goals in his last three appearances and, as Estudiantes' top goal scorer this season with five, 29-year-old Gomez knocked on coach Raúl Arias' door earlier this week to ask what more he needs to do to be a starter.
“He was very honest with me, very blunt,” Gomez said. “I definitely want to play because I feel it doesn't just affect me in my club, but also my country. I can't really disclose all that was said, but I think the feedback was positive. Maybe not what I wanted to hear, but positive in the manner that at least I know what I need to do.”
The US national team has failed to score in three of the five games under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and although he is on a hot streak, Gomez does not blame the US coaching staff for him not making a roster so far.
“I can't, at the moment, convince my own club coach,” lamented the down-to-earth Gomez. “I certainly can't blame the national team coach.”
Since moving south of the border and joining Puebla in January 2010, Gomez has 20 goals in 2,383 minutes of soccer. Put as a ratio, that's a goal every 119 minutes.
“I have a very good average, but I've got to aspire to more because obviously these numbers aren't doing it as of right now,” stressed the World Cup veteran.
Despite the difficult club situation he finds himself in, Gomez is vowing to redouble his efforts in training.
“I've got a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” admitted the Las Vegas-raised player. “I'm going to keep working hard because that's really all I can do and that's what has gotten me results.”
Tom Marshall can be reached at email@example.com.