Gomez makes a strong case for U.S. recall; more Americans Abroad
The last time Herculez Gomez was on this kind of a run, he ended up with a scoring title and a ticket to South Africa.
This time around he's at the very least deserving of another look with the U.S. national team.
Gomez continued his rampant run through the Mexican Primera Division this weekend, scoring twice for Estudiantes Tecos against then-first-place and current CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist Santos Laguna.
His two tallies, which both came in the opening 16 minutes of the match, were a result of making the right runs at the right time and being in prime position for a pair of poacher's goals. If the national team's woes have shown anything, it's that the United States could use some help around the goal after mustering just two scores in five appearances.
Is the 29-year-old Gomez the answer up top for 2014? Probably not. But with a striker as in-form as he is, Jurgen Klinsmann's only option is to recall him to the international level (he last played for the U.S. in an Aug. 2010 friendly against Brazil). The proof is in the numbers.
If not for a scoring change, Gomez would have eight goals in 13 appearances and be in the midst of a five-game scoring streak; however, his strike against Chivas de Guadalajara on Oct. 15 was switched to an own goal, robbing him of the stat. Regardless, he has seven goals, has officially scored in five of his last eight games and remains three off the pace for the Mexican Apertura's Golden Boot. Winning that title wouldn't be uncharted territory for him, as he accomplished the feat during the 2010 Clausura campaign while playing for Puebla, his next opponent.
Gomez wasn't the only American to find the back of the next this past week. Heck, he wasn't even the only one to find it twice. Aalborg's Chris Rolfe rediscovered his scoring touch for the first time in more than two months, notching a brace to account for his team's two goals in a victory. Edson Buddle maintained his scoring ways also, upping his season total to six goals after a tally off the bench for FC Ingolstadt.
There were a handful of Americans who set up teammates for goals, as well. Fabian Johnson marked his return to action from a herniated disc with an assist in a 1-0 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim victory; Rangers' Carlos Bocanegra and Fulham's Clint Dempsey also assisted on goals; and Steve Cherundolo drew a penalty for Hannover before being sent off in his team's upset of all-mighty Bayern Munich.
A pair of U.S. starters survived minor bouts of adversity, too. The Dutch press circulated reports that Jozy Altidore was being sent to the bench despite his hot start, and while he did perform as a reserve in AZ Alkmaar's midweek UEFA Europa League match, he returned to the starting XI for AZ's league game over the weekend.
Sporting Lisbon's Oguchi Onyewu was forced to miss a match with a groin injury, according to reports from Portugal, but he returned to make the bench for Sporting's latest game on Monday. Assuming good health, both players should be a part of the U.S. squad for next month's friendlies against European foes France and Slovenia. Considering his current run, Gomez should be joining them.
Following an active, highlight-filled stretch, here's how the Americans playing abroad fared over the last week (season statistics encompass all competitions):
Quentin Westberg, GK, Evian Thonon Gaillard -- Not in the 18 for Evian's 1-1 draw with Sochaux on Saturday.