SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders announced Thursday they have signed former U.S. international and longtime Liga MX forward Herculez Gomez, adding a veteran option up top as the team looks to break out of a frustrating start to the 2016 MLS season.
Gomez, 33, joins the club after scoring one goal in seven appearances for Toronto FC last year, his first year back in Major League Soccer since he carved out a comfortable career in Mexico, playing with six different teams from 2010-15 and leveraging his success there into a spot on the U.S. World Cup team in 2010.
Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Herculez is a veteran player who has played in some big games,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “I look forward to his team play, hard-working attitude and his goal scoring as an addition to our team.”
Originally from Oxnard, Calif., Gomez made his MLS debut in 2003 with the LA Galaxy and later played for Colorado and Kansas City before he left for Mexico after the 2009 season. He’s scored 24 goals and added 13 assists over 131 career appearances in MLS, including a career-high 11 goals with LA in 2005, when he won an MLS Cup with the Galaxy.
Gomez has previous ties to both the Sounders and head coach Sigi Schmid, forged more than a decade ago. Schmid signed Gomez to a contract with the Galaxy in 2002 before loaning him out to the NASL Sounders in 2003, scoring one goal in 17 appearances for the club and current Sounders assistant Brian Schmetzer.
"We're happy to add a player with Herculez's experience to our current roster," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "He has done well in training and we look forward to seeing what he can bring to the team."
He's also found success against the Sounders, most notably while playing with Mexican side Santos Laguna three years ago. Gomez scored the lone goal of a 1-0 win for Santos at CenturyLink Field in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals in April 2013, and Santos went on to eliminate the Sounders 2-0 on aggregate.
He also scored three goals against the Sounders over the teams' two-leg series in the CCL quarterfinals in 2012, which Santos won, 7-3.
Gomez played for six clubs during his time in Mexico, most notably in 2012-13 with Santos Laguna and in 2010 with Puebla, when broke through internationally. Gomez became the first American player to lead a foreign league in scoring when he scored 10 goals in 15 games for Puebla, and that success led him to a spot on head coach Bob Bradley’s U.S. World Cup roster in 2010.
Gomez has scored six goals in 24 career caps with the USMNT, but hasn’t featured for the squad squad since March 2013. He appeared in eight World Cup qualifying games in the buildup to Brazil, but failed the make the final World Cup roster.
Gomez will be available when the Sounders seek their first win of the season at home against the Montreal Impact on April 2, following the FIFA international break.