CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Sunday, December 11, 2011
For the fourth time in two years, Herculez Gomez is on his way to a new club in Mexico.
After becoming known as one of the most efficient goal scorers in Mexico's Primera Division during the 2011 Apertura, he has left relegation threatened Estudiantes Tecos for greener pastures in Santos Laguna.
The move comes amidst reported interest from two other clubs, as Estudiantes works to pay off its debts. While his production slipped towards the end of the 2011 Apertura, two thirds through the season he was amongst an elite group of players around the world as he averaged a goal better than every 90 minutes of playing time.
The move to Santos Laguna, based out of Torreon, Coahuila, located 625 miles north of Mexico City and 343 miles from the Texas border, will bolster their attack as he settles into the striker cadre with the Apertura's leading scorer Oribe Peralta and the versatile Darwin Quintaro.
The team scored 37 goals in the Apertura, ranking first in offensive production, while also leading in assists and shots. The addition of Gomez, who has scored 22 (23 unofficially) goals in 60 Primera Division games, is a move that shows Santos Laguna are serious about finishing at the top of the Clausura for 2012. They finished in fourth in the 2011 Apertura, just three points behind table leaders Chivas.
A slump in form for the 29 year old striker while with Pachuca has kept him off the National Team radar for over a year after flinging himself into the World Cup roster by leading the Primera Division in scoring for Puebla in 2010's Clausura. The move to the bigger club did not suit him well, and the transfer to Tecos was a welcome one which saw him regain his scoring touch.
Achieving a starting role towards the end of the Apertura with Tecos saw him turned into a 70 to 90 minute man, which is something that Jurgen Klinsmann requires from his National Team players. The fan favorite has been conspicuous in his absence from Klinsmann's camps, but after his success at Tecos and if he continues his run of good form with Santos Laguna, he will be a tantalizing option for the National Team's current scoring woes.
If Santos puts one or more of their regular forwards on the winter transfer market, Gomez should expect to see considerable playing time, and playing in the midst of the high octane offense that Santos has, sacrificing defensive integrity for offensive power, there could be many more goals in Gomez's future.