TORREÓN, Mexico — Herculez Gomez again stole the show for Santos Laguna against MLS opposition with two goals and an inventive assist in his team's 6-2 victory, but is well aware los Guerreros were given a real test against Toronto FC on Wednesday.
“I've got to give TFC a lot of credit,” Gomez said after the CCL semifinal second leg. “They came in and never backed down and not too many teams do that here. I think it was well played by them and I definitely tip my hat to them.”
The “battle” and “war” that had been purported in the media never came about, giving way to two teams going cleanly toe-to-toe to reach the final and providing fans with a roller-coaster game.
With a packed stadium, fans on the edge of their seats and the result in doubt for at least an hour on the field, Gomez believes games like Wednesday's are what the continental competition is all about.
“I think it opened a few eyes on this continent,” he said. “I'm happy and I hope we represented both countries in a way that made people proud.”
Gomez now has six goals in four CONCACAF Champions League games – all against MLS opposition –and 11 in eight games in all competitions, but he doesn't believe he is in the form of his life.
He is desperate to keep his run going, but left the field against Toronto with the same nagging strain as he did during the first leg in Canada.
The 29-year-old is a doubt for the weekend game against former club Estudiantes Tecos, with an update to his injury due Thursday.
Gomez will play Monterrey in the final of the CONCACAF Champions League, with the first leg scheduled for April 16.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.