GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Herculez Gomez is set to be out of action for between four to six weeks, meaning the Club Tijuana striker is unlikely to be fit for the US national team's World Cup qualifiers in September against Costa Rica and Mexico.
“It’s nothing serious,” Gomez told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Saturday from Tijuana. “I had a little bit of a knee issue and I just needed to get it cleaned out.”
The 31-year-old forward – who moved from Santos Laguna to Club Tijuana in June – admitted that he hasn’t been 100 percent fit for the last “two or three months,” but is now on the comeback trail.
Gomez has been a regular in Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team squads for more than a year and, although it seems improbable due to the timing, is refusing to rule himself out of the upcoming qualifiers.
“I don’t want to rule myself out of anything, but I want to be smart about this and come back 100 percent,” said Gomez.
The Los Angeles-born forward has been getting to grips with the workings of his new club while doing rehab and has been impressed so far.
“We’ve got something special going on here,” stated Gomez. “At first, it was kind of the aura they had that drew me to them and now, I’m getting to experience it first hand. This club has a unique opportunity to appeal to two different fan bases, two different countries.”
In what seems like a twist of fate, Gomez’s new side is also in the CONCACAF Champions League and – after being on the losing side in the last two finals at Santos – is delighted that Xolos are taking the competition very seriously.
“It’s very important,” he said. “It’s refreshing that they are so competitive and they want to win it so bad. They want to win it as badly as I do.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.