Santos Laguna forward Herculez Gomez (pictured), who scored the Colorado Rapids' first-ever goal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in 2007, is part of the 23-man U.S. Men's National Team roster that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.
The U.S. will face Costa Rica at sold-out Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 22 (8 p.m. MT) before traveling to Mexico City to take on Mexico on March 26 at Estadio Azteca (8 p.m. MT). This will be the USMNT's second World Cup qualifier at the Rapids' stadium, having won 2-0 on Nov. 19, 2008, against Guatemala.
"We know we have a big task ahead of us, and we are confident our group will get the job done," said Klinsmann. "Obviously there are many players out with injuries, and that means the next person in line has a chance to step up. Getting points at home in World Cup qualifying is huge, and we are looking forward to having an awesome crowd supporting us in Denver on Friday night."
Gomez scored six goals in 37 games for the Rapids from 2007-2008. His 19th minute strike on April 7, 2007 against DC United was the first goal scored in the inaugural match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. He scored 23 goals in 124 MLS games with the LA Galaxy, Rapids, and Kansas City from 2003-2009 before heading south to play with Mexico's Puebla, Pachuca, Tecos and now Santos Laguna.
Eight MLS players are part of the U.S. group which also includes players who play professionally in England, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Belgium, Holland, and Austria.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals) - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa - 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire - 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake - 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6) : Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake - 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City - 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City - 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy - 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby - 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes - 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla - 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake - 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma - 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana - 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor - 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 - 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht - 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City - 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City - 4/0)
FORWARDS (5 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar - 18/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna - 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur - 27/11), Herculez Gomez (Santos - 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC - 12/10)
The U.S. team has been hit with a rash of injuries as eight players are unavailable for the matches. Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Steve Cherundolo (knee), Tim Howard (back), Fabian Johnson (hip), Jonathan Spector (ankle), Jose Torres (hamstring) and Danny Williams (illness).
- Clint Dempsey has six goals in World Cup qualifying in this cycle and 11 overall, good for second place on the USA's all-time list.
- Eddie Johnson has 10 career goals in qualifying to his credit, tied for third all-time with Brian McBride.
- Jozy Altidore has tallied 18 goals in league play and 25 in all competitions for AZ Alkmaar this season.
- Herculez Gomez is also tearing it up for Santos, with nine goals in all competitions. Gomez potted a pair during the Semifinal Round, including the game-winner against Jamaica on Sept. 11 in Columbus.
- Dempsey is the only player to appear in all seven matches in this qualifying cycle.
- Brad Guzan has three shutouts in five matches played in qualifying in his career, posting a 3-1-1 record. Guzan started in the 2-0 win against Guatemala on Nov. 19, 2008, here at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
- Jermaine Jones led all U.S. field players in games played (12) and minutes (1,002) in 2012.
- Entering 2012 with only one previous cap, Geoff Cameron ended the year with the second-most minutes played in the field.
- DaMarcus Beasley has 26 career caps in World Cup qualifying, tied with Jeff Agoos for fifth most in U.S. history. He sits on 97 appearances overall.
- Eight players from the January camp roster earned a spot on the roster - Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, Sean Johnson, Justin Morrow and Graham Zusi. Beckerman served as team captain in the 0-0 draw against Canada.
- Joe Corona has been a regular starter for Liga MX champion Club Tijuana, which has jumped out to a lead in Group 5 of the Copa Libertadores.
- Four players are carrying yellow cards: Michael Bradley, Dempsey, Maurice Edu and Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.