Chivas USA's Romero happy about his first MLS goal
CARSON, Calif. -- When Osael Romero first arrived at Chivas USA, there was talk of whether or not he’d be able to adapt to the quick, physical play of MLS. At just 5’6”, how would he handle the league’s famously rough-and-tumble defenders?
Initially, Romero did seem a bit over his head. The first three months of his MLS career passed relatively unceremoniously, with the Salvadoran international seeing just 175 minutes of league play.
WATCH: Romero beats Hartman
But then the opening whistle blew for Red-and-White’s game against Dallas last Saturday and Romero suddenly looked like the player that had initially caught head coach Martín Vásquez’s eye. He was dangerous in attack with darting runs and fancy footwork, and earned his first MLS goal in the 59th minute with a clever header past Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
“I thought Osael gave us what we asked of him,” said Vásquez after the match. “He’s a creative player; he will create chances for us in the attacking half and I thought he did well tonight.”
Romero’s first career strike turned out to be bittersweet, as Chivas USA eventually fell 2-1 to Dallas. While the defeat was certainly hard for a Goats squad that has now lost six straight league games, Romero can take pride in his efforts.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
“I’m happy to have gotten my first MLS goal,” Romero said after the match. “I’m adapting little by little. Like any player from outside of MLS, you have to settle in really quickly, but I’ve been working with the coaching staff and adapting more and more each day.”
Romero is no stranger to finding the back of the net from his midfield position. The agile attacker has netted eight times in 39 appearances for the El Salvador National Team, and the Goats are hoping that his goal on Saturday will help to open the floodgates.
“The goal is a big boost for my confidence,” said Romero. “I’m happy to be able to help my team, and hope that I can continue to score goals.”
Romero’s role as a creative midfielder will likely become more important with the loss of Sacha Kljestan to Belgian club Anderlecht on June 10. The Goats boast a stable of talented defensive midfielders, but Romero stands out as one of the few pure attackers in the group.
“Sacha is a great player and we miss him,” said Romero. “But we have to keep moving forward and hope that things will get better for us. I have an opportunity to demonstrate my skills and hopefully help the team push ahead.”
Chivas USA will return to MLS play on July 3 when they host the Philadelphia Union at the Home Depot Center. Without any league points since May 5, the Goats will be in desperate need of some against the Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers.
“We have to keep working hard and keep up the mentality that we can do it,” Romero said. “There are still a lot of games to be played.”
Join the Debate! MLSsoccer.com's "ExtraTime Radio" is LIVE every day during the World Cup, 5-7 pm ET. Call in at 888-MLS-GOAL.