MLS Soccer

Herculez Gomez trains with goal-hungry Sounders

The Seattle Sounders’ leading goal-scorer is defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.

He’s also their only goal-scorer; the team has managed just one goal over its first two Major League Soccer matches.

Perhaps relatedly, former U.S. international forward Herculez Gomez participated in Sounders training Monday. However, the Sounders’ exact thinking isn’t yet known, as the club stuck to its policy of not discussing players who aren’t under contract.

Gomez hasn’t been under contract to anyone since March 2 when he was released by Toronto FC, for whom he scored one goal in eight appearances last season.

“We’re looking right now at players, and we’ll see what happens in terms of our depth,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We still believe in our younger guys. Darwin (Jones) came in (at Real Salt Lake on Saturday) and had a chance to equalize the game there. Oalex (Anderson), we didn’t bring this week; maybe it’s another opportunity for him as we move forward. (Aaron) Kovar hits a nice cross. So we’ve got some of those guys who are gaining their confidence as well.”

While Anderson, Kovar and Jones are ages 20, 22 and 23 respectively, Gomez is 33 — and with quite a career already achieved.

He made 24 appearances with the United States national team between 2007 and 2013, including a spot on the 2010 World Cup team. He spent the first part of this decade playing with six different Mexican clubs, and the latter part of the last decade in MLS. In 2003, while still trying to establish himself in MLS, he made 17 appearances with the USL Sounders, scoring one goal.

If he returns to Seattle, indications are he would come at a relatively modest cost — certainly not as a designated player. Nor would he command a salary cap figure that would interfere with general manager Garth Lagerwey’s plans stated last week about filling the third DP spot, open since the transfer of forward Obafemi Martins.

In Martins’ absence, Seattle has started a forward line of veteran DPs Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez along with homegrown rookie Jordan Morris. However, the combination hasn’t yet clicked, as Seattle opened the season with a 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City followed by the 2-1 loss at RSL.

That line seemed to become ominously thinner Saturday when Morris and Valdez left the pitch with apparent injuries.

On Monday, Schmid said Morris is fine, but that Valdez had been kneed in the thigh and his prognosis would come clear over the next few days. If Valdez isn’t available Saturday when Vancouver visits CenturyLink Field, his likely replacement would be Jones or Anderson.

In any case, Schmid ruled out any retreat from the 4-3-3 look introduced this season.

“I’ve been happy with that,” he said. “I’ve been happy with the tempo of the game that we’ve been sort of able to control. So I think we’ve got to keep playing with it and keep working on our cohesion. It’s like one of those (where if good chances had been converted) maybe the floodgates open. … We believe in what we’re doing. We’re going to stay with it.”

Schmid said the formation has been an adjustment for Dempsey, but added, “I don’t worry about Clint. He’s a talented player and he’s going to find his moments and he’s going to give us the joy that we expect and want.”

Of Morris, Schmid said, “He’s four games into his professional career and he’s learning. … He’s making progress and I’m happy with that.”

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