31513_isi_gomezherculez_usmnt0911123322 John Todd/isiphotos.com
Major League Soccer

Herculez Gomez Embraces The Matinee Villain Role

The U.S. international’s banter raised the hackles of a few Seattle Sounders fans, but if it raises the profile of the CONCACAF Champions League, everybody wins.
BY Matt Thacker Posted
March 15, 2013
9:54 AM
As a U.S. international who has played in both Major League Soccer and Liga MX, Herculez Gomez has unique insight into both sides of the U.S.-Mexico rivalry.

And since joining Santos Laguna last year, Gomez has not exactly taken it easy on MLS teams in the CONCACAF Champions League. He has eight goals in as many matches while helping to eliminate the Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo, and Toronto FC (twice) from the tournament.

For the most part, Gomez has been diplomatic about the rivalry. When questioned last week on Twitter about whether the Sounders could capitalize on Tigres UANL sending mostly reserves to Seattle for a quarterfinal second leg, Gomez said it would be “game on” even if Tigres had sent the full team. He also correctly predicted Seattle and the Los Angeles Galaxy would reach the semifinals.

Gomez changed his tune after Seattle advanced to face his team in the semifinals. He began needling Sounders fans on Thursday–reminding them of the one-year anniversary of Seattle’s last trip to Estadio Corona. In case you forgot, Gomez scored twice in the 6-1 win over Seattle.

The World Cup veteran later joked that emerald is his favorite color —after blue—and retweeted some of the angry messages he had received from Sounders fans.

When the Sounders official Twitter account chimed in, the Mexican-American insisted: “Its Señor Gomez, to you.” He then offered a hug and said he needed to turn his focus to Santos’ next opponent.

Gomez, who briefly played for the Sounders of the USL in 2003, frequently engages with fans and reporters on Twitter, so his friendly banter is not too surprising. However, it could give a boost to a tournament that often gets overlooked.

One challenge of the Champions League is that most fans do not know much about their team’s opponents. A familiar—and otherwise beloved—player embracing the role of villain against Major League Soccer’s most vocal fans can only add to the intrigue.

Matt Thacker is ASN's Major League Soccer correspondent.

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