UNION BOSS Peter Nowak and scout guru Diego Gutierrez are prepared to make a blockbuster announcement, as sources revealed to the Daily News that the team has agreed to terms with Panamanian defender Gabriel Gomez.
Gomez, 27, under contract this season with Mexican second-division club Indios Ciudad de Juarez, is also the same box-to-box defender/midfielder who was a beast in Panama's 2-0 win over the United States in the group stage of this summer's Gold Cup. Gomez was credited with the game's first goal and set up another to secure Panama a trip to the knockout stage.
He would take up an international spot on the Union's roster, a space the team has because of the offseason departures of goalkeeper Thorne Holder and defender Juan Diego Gonzalez.
According to sources, the contract has been approved by Major League Soccer and awaits Gomez' signature before the Union can schedule an announcement, which can come as early as next week.
Team officials, including Nowak, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Representatives from Indios have not responded to email requests either.
Nowak held a noon teleconference yesterday, but didn't go into any detail regarding Gomez. Instead, the talk circled around the team's most recent acquisition in 18-year-old homegrown midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin, as well as an upcoming preseason match against USL Pro team Orlando City.
When connecting the dots here, it's hard to not see the handiwork of Gutierrez all over the potential Gomez deal.
Though Panamanian, Gomez has played club soccer in Colombia with Independiente Santa Fe (2006-07), the same pipeline from which Gutierrez was able to funnel both midfielder Roger Torres and defender Carlos Valdes to the Union. Gomez' most recent stint before playing a partial season in Juarez was with Colombian first-division side La Equidad, according to National-Football-Teams.com.
It's believed that Gomez will be the perfect fit to complete Nowak's four-man back line playing on the left side of the pitch, a spot held by rookie Gabriel Farfan early last season following the departure of Union original Jordan Harvey to Vancouver. Gomez has speed and fits well with Nowak's penchant to attack the flanks with his outside defenders.
Though listed as a defender for Panama, the roster on Indios' website lists Gomez as a midfielder, most likely a holding midfielder similar to that of current Union mid Brian Carroll.