COMMERCE CITY, Colo -- Herculez Gomez wants to know why he wasn't named team captain for the United States' World Cup qualifying matches against Costa Rica and Mexico.
"Clint [Dempsey] beat me to it!" the forward joked to Goal.com. "I thought I had it."
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Dempsey the U.S. captain for only the second time in the Texas-born forward's 92 international caps two days before the Americans take on Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Dempsey got the nod over national team veterans Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones after Klinsmann decided to omit regular captain Carlos Bocanegra from this month's roster. Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, who are normally No. 2 and 3 in the pecking order, are out.
The U.S. players seem to think the coach picked the right man.
"Clint's a great guy and great player, and I think that speaks for itself," Gomez said. "There are guys who you probably could have mentioned who could've been captain but you really can't go wrong with Clint.
"Clint's going to be out there with a greater amount of responsibility and I think you're going to see a greater player out there for it."
Bradley, who has 73 caps for his country, agrees with Gomez, despite being snubbed for the armband.
"When you look at Clint you see a guy who isn't afraid of anything, who doesn't shy away from a challenge," Bradley said. "So when you talk about wanting so many guys on your team, so many men on your team, guys with real character, he's certainly first on that list."
Dempsey has emerged as the biggest name in U.S. soccer after becoming the first American to score over 20 goals abroad in a single campaign while with Fulham last season. He was later transferred to Champions League-bound Tottenham in August.
Bocanegra has been headed in the opposite direction since moving to Spanish second-division club Racing Santander after his previous club Rangers was relegated to Scotland's fourth division. He has been out of Santander's lineup for weeks despite being healthy.
And Gomez feels for Bocanegra, who may find himself on the outside looking in should the U.S. qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"As his friend I was bummed because you obviously want to see someone you like as a player and person be there," Gomez told Goal.com. "But on the professional side you need to understand the tough decisions that are made by the manager of such an important program."