PANAMA CITY, Panama — Fresh off putting a solid shift as captain of Panama in his national team's 1-0 loss to the US on Wednesday night, new Union signing Gabriel Gómez is on his way to Philadelphia to begin his MLS adventure.
“I travel [Thursday] to Philadelphia to take the medical exams and get the last preparations done to join the team,” Gómez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday before the match. “The team is waiting for me and I’m anxious to meet my teammates and the fans and get integrated as soon as possible into the new team and new league.”
A wily central midfielder with cultured positioning and a keen eye for snuffing out the opposition's attack, Gómez won’t be entirely out of his element when he arrives at PPL Park. The Panamanian has had long conversations with Philly management and was also a teammate of Freddy Adu during the American’s time on loan at Belenenses in Portugal.
“The little that I know about the team comes from the sporting manager, Diego Gutiérrez,” Gómez said. “I’ve also spoken a lot with Freddy Adu, who was my teammate in Portugal. I know of a few of the players like Faryd Mondragón, and Peter Nowak, who’s a great coach – I don’t have any doubts about that.”
A grizzled veteran at 27 years of age, Gómez has spent time on three continents with 11 different teams over a pro career that has taken him from Panama to Colombia, Mexico, Portugal, Cyprus and now the US.
He says he’s hoping for some stability in MLS, with a year-long contract with option years through 2015, after playing just eight matches for his last team, Indios de Ciudad Juárez in Mexico’s second flight.
“I signed for a year with options through 2015, so I’ll go this year and try to show well, please the team, the management and the fans, and achieve the collective objectives of the team,” he said. “I’m headed there with the desire to earn my place in the team. It’s a young team, a team with big goals, and I’m going to do my best to fit in and do the best possible.”