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PST USMNT Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez

Sep 11, 2012, 10:18 PM EDT

Gomez of the U.S. battles Palmer of Jamaica for control of the ball during their World Cup qualifying soccer match at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio Reuters

There’s more to come on tonight’s big 1-0 win for the U.S. in Columbus, but first, let’s hand out our award.

For the second match in a row, Herculez Gomez wins PST’s Man of the Match award, though like Friday, the honor could have gone to a number of guys. Both Steve Cherundolo and Graham Zusi impressed on the right after not playing in Kingston. Danny Williams made his case for being first choice in defensive midfield, while it’s now hard to imagine a starting XI that doesn’t include Geoff Cameron, regardless of who’s starting next to him. Unlike Friday, when the U.S.’s Man of the Match candidates reflected a series of average performances, Tuesday’s offerings were plus-contributions in a must-win match.

NBC Sports: Gomez’s goal gives US Soccer revenge vs. Jamaica

But like Friday, Gomez’s main contribution had the virtue of coming on the U.S.’s only goal. In the 55th minute, Gomez put a free kick from 25 yards out around Jamaica’s wall, placing his shot two feet inside Dwayne Miller’s left post. The Jamaican goalkeeper’s loose hands played a key part in the goal, but how many times do you see a free kick from that range fail to get on frame? Gomez deserves credit for not only testing Miller but doing so with power to get the U.S. a much-needed goal.

(MORE: Ten Talking Points from Tuesday’s win)

And as on Friday, Gomez offered something beyond his contributions on the goal. Again, Gomez’s service was strong, particularly on set pieces. The best example came in the 15th minute from free kick just outside the penalty area to the left of goal. Gomez’s restart was curled perfectly in line with the far post, dropping just inside the six-yard box. Strong Jamaican defending kept anything from coming of the ball, but with normal set piece taker Landon Donovan put injured, Gomez proved a valuable replacement.

It wasn’t so long ago that Gomez was on the outside looking in on the national team, but after a string of starts, the  30-year-old sits at the top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s forward depth chart. Even when he’s not being delivered good chances, Gomez can have an impact on the match. For the second game in a row, he was the key man on the U.S.’s only goal. And he’s also our Man or the Match.

  1. slxc - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    If the United States continues to play well, will suffer in the finals. Kinsmann still do not understand what it is to play in the CONCACAF.

  2. footballer4ever - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Yes! Game mission accomplished. There’s no room for error in the last game…at least US have their destiny in their hands. That last Hexagonal phase is going to be scorching hot for sure!!!

    • mbninedimes - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      There are actually two games left, but I feel you bro. COME ON YOU YANKS

  3. mkbryant3 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    What a story is Gomez’ career. The dude has come a long way and worked hard for it, after being told he should get another career. Good for him. You can see his work ethic on the field. Jozy? Not so much. I’m no “get stuck in” kinda guy, but he’s been a little soft lately. Get nasty dude!

  4. footballer4ever - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    @mbninedimes

    I left out the “s” in games, so it sounded only one game was left. Thanks either way. Aside from beating Guatemala, it sounds to me the most important game will be against A&B for goal differential purposes which might end up playing out a huge factor in the end. Simply math, score more goals than what we’ve been doing lately and the final results will take care of itself. Go USA!

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