Townsend eager to compete among deep DC forward corps

Casey Townsend had plenty to prove as a rookie with Chivas USA last season. Now, he'll have to prove himself all over again to D.C. United. And he can't wait.

“Chivas did a lot for me and there are a lot of good people over there, but D.C.’s a team that’s going into this season expecting big things,” the 23-year-old forward told MLSsoccer.com. “They’re expecting championship-level play and I’m looking forward to being a part of something like that.”

D.C. acquired Townsend last week, sending a second-round pick in the 2014 SuperDraft to Chivas USA for the former University of Maryland star.

The addition of Townsend bolsters United’s depth up top and injects another intriguing young forward into the mix alongside Rafael, D.C.’s newly acquired Young Designated Player. The aforementioned pair are expected to compete for playing time along with 31-year-old Lionard Pajoy.

“Those two forwards, Rafael and Pajoy, are very good players,” Townsend said. “I’m going to have to compete for a spot, and that’s what I love to do is compete. Even if I’m not on the field, I’m going to have to push those guys and make them better, so I think it will be good for everybody.”

As a rookie, Townsend played in 17 matches (10 starts) and scored one goal. At Maryland, he played with current United defenders Kemp and Ethan White.

SUPERDRAFT: Kemp pleasantly surprised to land in D.C.

“It was something that came about very quickly,” United general manager Dave Kasper said of the trade. “Casey’s a player that we’re very familiar with having watched him multiple times here in our backyard. We’re very exciting he’s joining us and we know what he’s capable of.”

Townsend played the second half of United’s first preseason friendly against Columbus in Bradenton, Fla., this past weekend and said he felt great, despite some early jetlag from the cross-country flight.

“I knew a good amount of the team before I got here, so it’s been an easy transition so far,” he added. “I’m just really glad and grateful to be here.”