Owusu working for his chance
CARSON, Calif. (Friday, June 10, 2011) -Each week, it seems like more and more Chivas USA players are returning from injury, forcing the coaching staff into lineup decisions. According to head coach Robin Fraser, it’s a good problem to have.
Paulo Nagamura and Mike Lahoud appeared as substitutes in last Wednesday’s match against Vancouver, and then started against Portland in Saturday’s win. Blair Gavin made a cameo appearance at the end of Saturday’s game, earning his first minutes since March. Tristan Bowen played seventy minutes and scored a goal in Sunday’s reserve game.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year so far,” said Coach Fraser after Thursday’s practice. “We’ve got a number of guys coming back from injury and this is about as complete a group as we’ve had. For us it’s a very positive thing.”
One guy who is looking to join the ranks of returning players is Ghanaian defender Seth Owusu. But for Owusu, his next appearance won’t exactly be a return- it will be a debut. He made his first appearance for the Red-and-White in an Open Cup match against Portland back in March, but has yet to play in an MLS match. The defender dubbed “Man Mountain” by Jimmy Conrad underwent knee surgery on April 15th, and has been working his way back to fitness since.
“I’ve learned a lot about the team [while sitting out],” said Owusu. “I’ve learned a lot from the coaches about how the game is here. Chivas is a very great team, and all the players are very great, so I need to work hard to get myself into the team.”
He seems to be getting close. Owusu made the game-day roster for last Wednesday’s match against the Whitecaps, and played 90 minutes in Sunday’s reserve game against Portland. Being able to play in a game, even in the reserve league, was big.
“It was a very good opportunity for me,” said Owusu. “After the injury I was sitting out for a long time, so I think it was a very nice opportunity for me to be on the field and to show the coach that I can do it.”
The twenty-year-old Owusu was in good spirits Thursday, clearly happy to be training with his teammates. He said he is comfortable and enjoying life in L.A., but the thing he most wanted to talk about was his MLS debut. With the team’s depth growing all the time, Fraser indicated Owusu has to prove himself and earn his minutes just like everyone else. The young defender understands. He has been working hard in training, and when he does get his chance to play, he knows it will be a special moment.
“It would be very great when I make it in MLS,” said Owusu. “It is my target, and it’s an achievement to play in MLS. It’s been my aim, so it will feel great once I get to play.”