The international break is on the horizon with Canada and the United States both in action.
Benito Floro’s side will take on Ghana next Tuesday at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The United States will battle Mexico this Saturday at the Rose Bowl with a place in the Confederations Cup on the line.
The latter is the big match. It’s a rivalry Reds forward Herculez Gomez knows well. The 33-year-old made 24 appearances for the Americans and was part of a squad that made history in Mexico City.
“I’m a Mexican-American so I grew up in with a dual culture on the West Coast,” said Gomez following training on Tuesday.
“I lived on both sides [of the rivalry] very intensely. I remember the game when we went down to the Azteca and beat them 1-0. It was the first time in U.S. history we did that.”
With Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley away with their respective national teams there’s a chance Gomez will make his first start next Wednesday at BMO Field against the New York Red Bulls. Gomez made his first appearance for TFC against the Red Bulls as a substitute on August 15.
“I’m excited for the opportunity and chomping at the bit,” said Gomez.
“Ultimately it’s up to the coaches. They’ll decide who steps on the field and whoever they see fit to help the team will [be out there].”
Osorio Is Having Fun
Jonathan Osorio is playing the best football of his professional career, but that didn’t warrant a selection for the Ghana friendly next week. For Osorio, that just means he has more work to do.
“I have to keep performing this way,” he said on Tuesday. “If [Floro] doesn’t call me it’s because he’s asking for more. He’s always told me to shoot more, which is something I definitely need to do and improve.”
It’s not surprising Osorio is his own toughest critic. It’s that work ethic, lauded by head coach Greg Vanney as one of the best on the team, that’s helped the 23-year-old carve out a permanent spot in the starting XI.
“A lot has to do with the coaches having faith in me and letting me play the way I’ve always played my whole life,” said Osorio.
“Greg told me before the [Philly] game to have fun out there. I really thought about that and that’s exactly what I did. The whole team had a great overall performance.”
Osorio’s confidence is high. The dribbling ability he uses to get out of tight spaces has been part of his arsenal for some time, but now he’s using it more regularly.
“Last year I didn’t try as many things because it was still my second year in the league and I was still trying to prove myself,” he said. “Now that I’ve proven that I can play now I can try to do a little bit more for the team each game.”
That “little more” is helping the Reds attack opponents with more creativity and more verve with frequency.