Chivas USA's Romo making forward progress

Goals have long been Club Deportivo Chivas USA striker Isaac Romo's specialty.

With Chivas de Guadalajara, Romo scored two goals in five matches, his first coming in a 4-2 win against Tecos in 2003. In the Apertura 2004 season, he led Chivas' second division club, Chivas La Piedad, with nine goals.

And Romo was a key part of Mexico's under-20 national team that reached the 2003 World Youth Championship.

Now, Romo looks to conquer MLS defenses and has set a lofty goal for himself.

"I want to be the top scorer in the league," Romo said. "That's my goal. In order to reach that goal, I will have to work very hard. I know I will have to put in a lot of extra work to reach that but I'm OK with that."

Although he will have to adjust to playing in a different style than he's been accustomed to in Mexico, Romo said the learning process is coming along nicely.

"The teams we've faced so far have been strong and physical and it's a little different than what we're used to in Mexico but we're adapting well," he said.

In Chivas USA's scheme, Romo will likely play center forward. For much of the preseason, Romo has been firmly in place at the position at the start of games with Arturo Torres to his right and Matt Taylor to his left.

And while the offense is not built around him, Romo is an integral part of it.

"We're looking obviously from several sources to get goals," Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen said. "Romo is a central striker that we rely on."

At 6-foot-2, Romo is hardly the prototypical Mexican player. Unlike Mexican teammates Hector Cuadros (5-foot-10), Ramon Ramírez (5-foot-7) and Francisco "Pancho" Mendoza (5-foot-5), Romo's height stands out in a crowd. As such, Romo will be a target for both teammates sending crosses his way and defenders trying to outmuscle the 170-pound Guadalajara native.

"He's got good height and he's very technical for a big player," Rongen said. "He's pretty good in the box when he faces the goal. He's a proven goal scorer. He brings some interesting qualities for a big man to the table."

Romo, who scored a magnificent bicycle-kick goal against Panama in 2003, played in two of Mexico's three matches at the 2003 World Youth Championship. Though he's set on leading MLS in goals, Romo would like someday to parlay that success into a return to Mexico.

"I want to continue to improve and to develop. I'd like to return to Chivas de Guadalajara. That is one of my goals and if it's not with Chivas then maybe another Mexican club in the First Division," he said.

Chivas USA is slowly coming around but once the season starts the team will be successful, Romo said.

"I think this team can compete," he said. "We just need to adjust some things on the field, but this team can be competitive and play at a high level."

Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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