Players get “missed” all the time.
But missing a 6’3” Tom Brady-look-a-like who races around the pitch and is prolific at doing the one thing–scoring–in the one position–striker–that is lacking at the national team level? Well that stands out like Justin Braun himself when he ambles onto the pitch.
If not for an amateur tournament in Carson, CA and catching the eye of then-Chivas USA coach Preki, Braun, as he tells it, would likely be chained to a desk for the bulk of the day working with numbers.
The 23-year-old Braun is having a stellar MLS season–notching 9 goals thus far–after making his pro debut just last year.
He’s now on the national team radar–and likely to receive his first cap in Chicago in a few days–and sees a move to play overseas as more than attainable.
TSG had a chance to catch up with the Chivas USA striker as he prepped to play the Union in Brotherly Town last week. Braun proved to be an even-keeled subject, quick to lavish praise for scoring on his teammates and only taking umbrage with a single question we asked him.
“So Justin, some folks seemed to have bestowed the nickname “Braunaldinho” on you, how do you…”
Braun, “Personally I really don’t like Braunaldinho.”
“Good, neither do we.”
Braun, “Fan groups have come up with Braunzilla and Z (Zach Thornton) calls me SuperBruan. Anything but Braunaldinho.”
It’s only fair that the man who nearly didn’t get a chance to make a name for himself has the last word on his nickname, no?
And now, our conversation with Chivas USA’s super striker, Justin Braun.
TSG: Hey Justin, how are you?
Justin Braun: I’m good, man.
TSG: A good campaign for you in a tough year for Chivas. What were your personal expectations heading into this season?
JB: The team knew things were going to be different with a new coaching staff. Change was coming and we were prepared for that.
We definitely had high hopes with the team. From day one, we always believed that we had a good team and a good group of guys. We believed we were going to do well.
Personally for me, I made a goal for myself to improve from the previous year and make myself known as a striker in MLS.
TSG: Where does the team sit now with less than a month left in the season. How’s the team feeling about closing out the year given that the playoffs are likely unreachable?
JB: I think we’re just taking it one game at a time and go out each week and get a few points.