FRISCO, Texas – For those who are wondering whether US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann actually has Herculez Gomez on his radar, the answer is “yes.”
MLSsoccer.com caught up with the USMNT boss before MLS First Kick at FC Dallas Stadium on Sunday and asked him the question on the mind of many US fans after Gomez’s latest brace for Santos Laguna in Mexican league action on Saturday night. That feat followed up a goal he scored against the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League play in midweek.
“We have a big roster,” Klinsmann told MLSsoccer.com. “We have obviously 20 to 25 right now that we feel very comfortable with. But there is a more extended roster filled with the January camp players, a lot of them. And Herculez is part of that.”
Gomez made the 2010 US World Cup team with a similar hot stretch that has been common for him in recent Mexican league seasons. Now with his fourth different Mexican side, his current run of form has seen him net four goals in his last five matches for Santos Laguna.
But goals aside, Gomez has to bypass other forwards in the USMNT’s internal ranking system to finally get a call-up.
“We still have to figure out at the end of the day what’s the internal ranking for us,” continued Klinsmann. “When we go into May-June this summer, we have 20 to 22 slots and we have to make the best out of it.
“And you have guys where you say ‘I wish I could invite him because he should be here as well,’ but there’s an established ranking like with every national team program and they are there for a reason. But it doesn’t mean that you kind of downsize somebody else. It’s because the spot is taken.”
That striker ranking would presumably include names like Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Edson Buddle, Terrence Boyd, Chris Wondolowski and C.J. Sapong.
But regardless of what that competition looks like, Gomez and his fans should know that Klinsmann is watching.
“The Mexican clubs are really kind of surprised that our coaches go down to Mexico,” he said. “We have [players based there] all on the radar screen. … We look at them all the time.”