September 12, 2012
LIVING UP TO HIS NAME
Herculez strikes when U.S. needs it the most
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- He has one of those great names that headline writers are thankful for. Herculez Gomez.
|Herculez Gomez scored the only goal in the USA's 1-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
You can imagine what creative thinkers can do with that name and the striker has obliged by scoring goals for his Mexican club team, Santos Laguna, and for the U.S. National Team.
In the Americans' vital 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Jamaica on Tuesday night, Gomez scored one of his most important goals of his career.
“He’s awesome," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "The one thing we love about Herc is that he’s really got that ‘Van Nistelrooy’ to him. He’s really greedy and selfish in the most positive way imaginable. He gets the ball, gives it and breaks to get into the box because he wants to score. If there’s a loose ball, he’s going to be on it. If there is a half-chance to be had, he’s going to get it.
"It’s great to have those kind of guys on your team because you always know you have a chance. My hat goes off to Herc. He bounced around from team-to-team in MLS and then he goes down and makes a huge impact in Mexico and comes here and shows his worth. Nine out of 10 players, after they bounce around, just accept it and he didn’t.”
Gomez's big moment came in the 55th minute. Rodolph Austin, one of Jamaica's heroes in its 2-1 win on Friday night, fouled on Clint Dempsey some 28 yards out. Gomez curled a right-footed shot toward the upper right corner. Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller got a hand on the ball, but deflected it into the net for Gomez's fifth international goal and second in this qualifying campaign.
“He’s always sniffing for a goal," Howard said. "Everything he does, he wants to give the ball and go and get in the goal. He wants to take the half-chance, he wants to shoot. He wants to get a goal and that’s what great forwards do. His scoring record speaks for itself in Mexico and he’s bagged a few for us too. He’s a humble guy and he fights and scraps and kicks. He’s a good mix of a lot of different factors.”
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann agreed and elaborated.
“You talk about hunger, he’s a role model," he said. "In every training session, he gives you what he gave tonight. If you tell him at 2 a.m. to go out and bend the ball around, he’s there. We need that. He has that determination that he wants to score so badly. This is something we need to develop even more in our team – that hunger to succeed and that hunger to score, but also that willingness to suffer. We are very happy to have him with us.”