Mexico international Hector Herrera was named Porto’s player of the year for his breakout campaign during the 2014-15 season.
Herrera received Porto’s "Dragon de Oro" award during an awards ceremony earlier this week after scoring seven goles in 44 appearances last season. The 25-year-old midfielder joined the Portuguese club in 2013 from Mexico’s Club Pachuca for $8.5 million.
"He is a very good player with a great attitude and an ability to compete. I am convinced he will be very important for us this year," Lopetegui told reporters back in November. "Hector is a player who last year practically played all the time. He has had two years basically with no rest over the summer [World Cup 2014 and Gold Cup 2015]," the manager added. "And that is a subject that seems unimportant, but it is not."
Herrera, who was instrumental in El Tri’s Gold Cup triumph this past summer, featured in his side’s 1-0 victory at Tondela on Saturday. Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved a penalty and Lopetegui was sent off, as the second-place side provisionally closed on Portuguese leader Sporting Lisbon.
The Spain goalie blocked Salva Chamorro’s late spot kick, after Maicon fouled John Murillo. Porto forward Yacine Brahimi scored what proved to be the winner in the first half, shortly before Lopetegui was ordered from the dugout.
Porto, which has a game in hand, are five points behind Sporting CP in the Primeira Liga.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.