Though Gomez is 33 and three years removed from his most recent double-digit-goal season, he would provide veteran depth for Seattle at the right price.
Former United States international Herculez Gomez, who was waived by Toronto FC on March 2, is training with the Sounders, running through drills Monday morning at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila beneath a chilly rain.
Though the club stuck to its long-standing policy of not discussing players who are not under contract, there was little missing Gomez’s distinctive, dark beard. And though Gomez is 33 and three years removed from his most recent double-digit-goal season, he would provide veteran depth at the right price.
Gomez made more than $250,000 last season with Toronto, according to the MLS Players Union. But given his age and lack of recent production — and loose Seattle ties — this could be the case of an established veteran willing to take a deep discount and back seat to chase one last title.
Put more plainly: If signed, Gomez won’t fill Seattle’s open Designated Player spot nor even all that significant a chunk of salary cap.
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Gomez signing a contract with the Sounders also would prove an appropriate career bookmark to one of the most unlikely U.S. national-team success stories ever.
The Oxnard, Calif., native made 17 unremarkable appearances for the minor-league Sounders during the 2003 USL season. He already had bounced between six clubs, including the indoor San Diego Sockers, when the Kansas City Wizards let him go with little resistance following the 2009 MLS season.
The then-28-year-old journeyman subsequently tied for the Liga MX goals lead with Pachuca in 2010, the first time an American had managed the feat in a foreign league. And he played his way onto the the national team’s 2010 World Cup roster, appearing in three of the team’s four games, including the Round of 16 loss to Ghana.
Gomez returned to Seattle a visitor in triumph during the 2012-’13 CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, netting the goal that silenced CenturyLink Field and knocked the Sounders out.
For all that, Gomez would be unlikely to pencil into the Sounders’ starting lineup with the possible exception of this summer’s Copa America Centenario — when Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Nelson Valdez could get called into their respective national teams — or a particularly devastating run of injuries that’d make this current spell blush.
“We’re looking right now at players,” Schmid said. “We’ll see what happens in terms of our depth. We still believe in our younger guys. Darwin (Jones) came in and had a chance to equalize the game (in Saturday’s loss at Real Salt Lake). Oalex (Anderson), this week, maybe it’s another opportunity for him. (Aaron) Kovar hits a nice cross. We have some guys that are gaining their confidence.”