It was an evening of firsts for Chivas USA forward José Erik Correa.
The 19-year-old Colombian forward registered his first career MLS start and, just four minutes in, scored his first MLS goal in a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Starting in place of countryman Juan Pablo Ángel, Correa (above, left) put his name on the scoresheet after finishing a James Riley cross that was set up by a 50-50 ball won in the midfield by Miller Bolaños.
WATCH: Correa opens scoring against SJ
Displaying the deft final touch that made him one of the leading goalscorers in Colombia’s Liga Postobón, Correa applied a clinical touch to place Riley’s cross past goalkeeper Jon Busch and into the inside post with a right-footed shot.
“I had an opportunity to play in the last match [against San Jose] but [coach Robin Fraser] decided to put me in as a starter,” Correa told reporters after the match. “I think I did what he needed me to do. I have to work a lot to get better. Every day that comes by, we have to work harder [as a team].”
While Correa put the Rojiblancos up early, the 19-year-old and the rest of the offense struggled to get much going in the minutes following as San Jose quickly began to press for the equalizer. However, that did not prevent Correa from continuing to try to make an impact, as the forward drifted into midfield to attempt to help the club’s defensive effort. Chivas didn't register another shot after his goal, but Correa still made his presence felt on both sides of the ball against the Earthquakes.
“It was a good [first start] for him,” Riley told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match regarding Correa’s performance. “He helps us strengthen the defense by being able to hold the ball up. Obviously, our communication will be better, but I thought that his overall effort today was definitely great.”
As has been the story with Correa since his arrival, Riley believes that the best is yet to come for the young forward.
“I’m glad that he was able to get the goal,” Riley added. “He had good energy up front, and I look forward to working with him some more and seeing big things from him in the future.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org