VENTURA, Calif. – With the likes of Juan Agudelo and José Erik Correa joining the Chivas USA forward corps, playing time has been hard to come by for forward Cesar Romero. But while some players may have sulked, the brash 22-year-old striker is simply taking the challenge in stride.
Romero started and scored a goal, going 45 minutes as the Rojiblancos defeated the Ventura County Fusion 1-0 in the US Open Cup third round on Tuesday. The start was Romero’s first start since the Rojiblancos’ April 7 victory over the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field.
Since the game in Portland, he has only played twice; both times as a second half substitute, bringing his appearance total in MLS play to seven.
“I’ve been knocking on the door [of the first team] and every day is a new day for me, and every day I train and work hard for the main goal, which is to start on the first team,” said Romero after the victory over the Fusion. “It’s going to be my goal every game and every training session.”
After being presented with the opportunity to start against the Fusion, Romero immediately rewarded head coach Robin Fraser’s faith by doing what he brazenly claims he was born to do: score goals. In the 13th minute, Romero combined with Agudelo before firing an audacious shot that nutmegged Fusion goalkeeper Earl Edwards to give Chivas their first Open Cup win since 2010.
The goal was Romero’s first goal with the Chivas first team in competitive play, but his 12th – including reserve and preseason games – since he joined the club on a trial that ultimately led to an MLS contract.
The week ahead looks to be a busy one for Romero and his club as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL in the fourth round next Tuesday before a Reserve League match against the San Jose Earthquakes next Friday.
Although next week will present the former indoor soccer star with another opportunity to showcase himself to the coaching staff, Romero has no desire to wait that long. He knows that he needs to be at his best every day in order to win playing time for Chivas.
“Every day is a chance to show the coaching and improve myself, my abilities, my skills, my fitness, everything," he said. "If I just thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to play and I’m going to play my best,’ that doesn’t really work. You have to train every day and say ‘you know what, today I’m going to train so that tomorrow I can be better.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.