Herculez Gomez, Santos Laguna
Courtesy of Herculez Gomez

American Exports: Herculez, Santos win Mexican title

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Herculez Gomez's Santos Laguna won Mexico's Clausura 2012 championship on Sunday, defeating CONCACAF Champions League holders Monterrey 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

Gomez didn't enter the field in either game of the final series, but becomes the first American to win both the MLS Cup and Mexico's first-division title.

“The fans, the directors deserve this,” said an emotional Gomez, in Spanish, on ESPN. “I've found something special here.”

The 30-year-old striker, who had five league goals this season, also got the bonus news that he will be joining up with the US national team squad next week.

“It's not the final list, but what pride to be selected by your country,” said Gomez. “It is something that is difficult to put into words.”

Santos stormed to a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute when Daniel Ludueña dribbled into the box and placed the ball under Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.

Oribe Peralta added the second in the 65th minute, and the game looked beyond los Rayados until Aldo de Nigris pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining to set up a nervous finish for los Guerreros.

The club, who have lost three of the last four finals in Mexico, held out to secure its fourth title in their short history.

Gomez becomes only the second player to win both the Primera División and the MLS Cup, after Claudio López. The Argentine won the Primera Divisón with Club América in the Clausura 2005 and the MLS Cup with the Colorado Rapids in 2010, although he played only sparingly for the Rapids that year.

Young champions

Two other Americans lifted trophies in Mexico this weekend. Goalkeeper David Silva performed solidly in Chivas de Guadalajara's 5-3 victory over Atlas to help his side win the Under-17 title. Erik Venegas also came on for the last 10 minutes. Chivas won 9-5 on aggregate.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. Contact him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.