CARSON, Calif. — When he was taken with the fifth overall draft pick in January's MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA, forward Casey Townsend promised to do whatever it took to generate scoring opportunities.
In his first two appearances with the Rojiblancos, he's made good on those words.
Although he was unable to get on the scoreboard in his first MLS start during the 1-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps last Saturday, Townsend believes that he gave a taste of what’s to come from him in a Chivas jersey.
WATCH: Townsend forces Cannon into wonder save
"Obviously, there was a little bit of nerves, but once you step on the field, it all goes away," Townsend told MLSsoccer.com after the match. "I was excited and overall it was a fun experience. I thought I went out and contributed my best. That's what I'm here to do is to try to be dangerous and contribute any way that I can offensively and defensively."
The rookie forward earned his first career start in place of injured veteran Juan Pablo Ángel. During his 62 minutes of action, Townsend's gritty and physical play provided a new dimension to an attack that’s struggled to generate offense so far this season.
Townsend was unlucky not to score his first career goal in the 32nd minute when he fired an audacious curling shot from 25 yards that forced a spectacular save from Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Whether Townsend will make his second consecutive start this weekend remains to be seen. Ángel, who was held out of Saturday's game due to precautionary measures surrounding a head contusion, is expected to return to the training ground this week. Following the defeat to Vancouver, head coach Robin Fraser admitted that "there is a good chance" Ángel will be available for selection for the RSL match.
While the Colombian veteran may return to action this week, Fraser was encouraged by the performance of his rookie forward.
"He had a decent day; it's all still new to him, the pace and everything about it," Fraser said. "I thought he had some bright moments and some moments where he looked young, but it's certainly important for him to get the experience."
Trialists shine in 7-1 defeat of UC Riverside
With Fraser still looking to add depth all over the park, six trialists auditioned for spots as Chivas second-stringers defeated local college UC Riverside, 7-1 on Sunday.
Former Nigerian youth international John Owoeri scored three goals, while forward Cesar Romero also added a hat trick of his own. A goal from Ecuadorian midfielder Miller Bolaños completed the rout. Oweri, a versatile forward with European experience, is entering his second full week on trial with Chivas. Five other trialists — including three new arrivals — were on display against the college side.
Left back Kevin Huezo, a former Pachuca U-20 product, and Mexican midfielder Ernesto Hutchinson also marked their second week on trial with the Rojiblancos as they fight to earn a contract. The list of newcomers also included midfielder Rodrigo López, a Chivas USA original who spent last season with the Portland Timbers, Congolese defender Patrick Kanyuka and midfielder Cameron Artigliere.
Kanyuka joined after stints in Romania and in the lower divisions in England while Artigliere is a Southern California native who most recently played with German amateur side Rheydter SV.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.