Nelson Valdez

Herculez Gomez defends Nelson Valdez amid online criticism

TUKWILA, Wash. – Former Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson made waves over the weekend after he took to Twitter to air some critical thoughts regarding current Sounders designated player Nelson Valdez

Following Seattle’s practice on Monday at Starfire Sports, Sounders forward Herculez Gomez came to Valdez’s defense.

Johnson, who made 49 appearances for Seattle from 2012-13 and officially retired last year, sent the tweets during Seattle’s 2-0 defeat to New York City FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.

Herculez Gomez defends Nelson Valdez amid online criticism -

Gomez addressed those comments speaking with reporters at Starfire on Monday, saying he was disappointed to see Johnson taking shots at his teammate, also pointing out that Johnson himself went through struggles during his playing career that could have easily elicited similar criticisms.

“I read those comments and listen, I love Eddie, but I don’t understand that,” Gomez said. "When Eddie was at [English Premier League side] Fulham, I’m sure a lot of people felt the same way there. He comes here and he got the short end of the stick here, but I don’t think anybody would have said it was unfair given how he got here and what he got.

“For me to see a colleague kind of turn on a former colleague like that, it’s strange because we’ve all been there.”

Valdez has made just four starts in 15 games for the Sounders in a 2016 season that has seen him slowed by injuries, something that Gomez says has made it difficult for him to iron out a consistent role in Seattle’s attack. He has yet to score this season after scoring once in the regular season and once in the postseason last year.

“He’s been very unlucky,” Gomez said. “Let’s be honest, he plays a position right now where it’s going to be hard for him. Jordan [Morris] has been playing well at that central [forward] position. At times we don’t play a system that caters to a player like Nelson. That’s just the reality of things.

“But it doesn’t all fall on him. We need to be there for him as well.”

Gomez also praised the 32-year-old Paraguay national’s selflessness and professionalism as he works his way back into the fold for Seattle coming off the early-season health issues. 

“Nelson’s one of the most professional players on the team,” Gomez said. “If you asked Nelson if he’d rather have a hat trick where we lose 4-3 or a 1-0 win where doesn’t score, he’d say the win. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s the ultimate team-first type of guy.”



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