Santos Gomez on Dynamo, demanding fans, and a new outlook on defending

Herculez Gomez is a U.S. international that currently is a striker/midfielder for Santos of Mexico that will take on the Dynamo in a huge Concacaf Champions League first leg quarterfinal match. I recently caught up with Gomez.

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GD: Give me your take on the Houston Dynamo?

Gomez: Houston is a very good team. I know them from previous years. I am still keeping up with MLS and watching them. I know what they are capable of and know it will be a challenge.
I am excited for the challenge and we know it won’t be easy.
More than anything we are excited to get this going and come to the states. We love the rivalry that goes with it and how it is spiced up. We enjoy that as competitors.

GD: Your new manager Pedro Caixhina from Portugal has re-newed the commitment to defending at Santos who are known as an attacking team. Now you are the best defensive side in Mexico. Can you comment?

Gomez: We have the best defense in the league. We stress high pressure and how we want to re-cuperate the ball in advanced positions on the field.
We take pride in defending as a team and it starts at the top, it starts with us making opposing teams more predictable.
The fruits of the labor are coming through. We are picking up also offensively and that has always been our bread and butter.

GD: Tell us of the importance of Oribe Peralta your partner up front?

Gomez: Oribe Peralta without a doubt is the most important Mexican striker in this league.
He is such a good competitor, great player. He’s done wonders and is a player that thrives under pressure. He is easy to play with and a great teammate. Tries the right thing when supposed to but will take risk. He is the consumate professional.

GD: How does his game enhance yours?

Gomez: You know he will do the right thing. He gives 100 % every game. He makes your game easier. We are the ones that complicate things as players.

GD: The depth at Santos is impressive and two player Daniel Cuevas and Benji Joya recently helped the U.S. qualify for the U20 World Cup, tell me where they stand at the club.

Gomez: Tow very good players and they are prospects for us. We understand how good they are and how good they could be. Santos does a good job of giving just enough to make them hungry. They make them understand it is a process. We have a deep squad with U20 players for Mexico and the U.S. and they only train with us. They have a humble approach.

GD: What about your fans?

Gomez: Santos is one of their outlets. We have demanding fans.

For full interview go to Espn975.com and go to the audio vault and look up Soccer Matters and Dynamo All Access