Posts Tagged ‘Justin Braun’

Justin Braun Makes His Name

Defenders are starting to learn about Braun...the hard way...

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.

Now?

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.

That question?

“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.

A rare time where Braun didn't outshine the opposition...

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.

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Bradley’s 30: What Is This? Junior High

Marvell: Back on the scene, crispy and clean

Coach USA took the next step to shoring up the remaining roster spots in South Africa today by inviting an inordinately large contingency of 30 players, 25 from the MLS, to camp this year in Los Angeles.

The annual January camps kicks off January 4th and making their way to the bunk beds will be:

GOALKEEPERS: Kevin Hartman (Kansas City), Troy Perkins (Valerenga), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)

DEFENDERS: Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC), Brandon McDonald (San Jose Earthquakes)

MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Jeff Larentowicz (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew),

FORWARDS: Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), , Marcus Tracy (Aalborg)

—–

Thoughts:

• Follow-up on our preview on the January camp:

» TSG contributor Connor, see comment section, nailed the goalies. TSG thought Thornton–at 36 years–deserving, but a little long in the tooth.

» Unfortunately, no Sean Franklin. TSG suggested an invite be sent the injured defenders way, but understandable that it was not

» No Darrius Barnes, as TSG suggested. Just a little bit too young.

• Coach USA goes with a whopping 12 midfielders, suggesting that his midfield is hardly set and that players like Robbie Rogers and Jose Francisco Torres are not locks yet for WC 2010.

• If you look at the defensive selections, here’s TSG reading Coach Sweatpants mind, “I need to get reps for middle guys here. Goodson, you know have Gonzalez pushing you….your sub spot to lose. Let’s see what this McDonald kid has there too.

Got to figure that outside picture out: Show me something Kevin, Heath, and Marvell–Heath, Marvell this is your final shot.”

» Wynne was in the rotation late last year and early this year. If the speedy outside full can show he’s overcome the nagging injuries and that he’s matured in his read of the game, then he’ll be making a strong play for that left wingback back-up role….back-up for now.

»Note: The official USSF release has Brandon McDonald as a forward. Unless Coach USA sees something we don’t, McDonald should get trotted out at center back and center back alone. I’m this close (if McDonald shows well) to calling him “Gooch Jr.”

¤ TSG has lobbed an email into USMNT spokesperson Neil Buethe to get confirmation on the release and McDonald’s position.

¤ USSF amended their release and now lists McDonald appropriately as a defender.

• Is this the close of the Big Aloha Brian Ching’s USMNT career or is he being given time to rest his knee? If you remember Ching did some heavy lifting this year with the USMNT Gold Cup tourney, qualifiers and a Houston playoff run.

• In Ching’s stead and in the absence of TSG-promoted Nate Jacqua is Chivas USA’s Justin Braun. We’ll have to learn more about Braun here at TSG as we’ve only seen him play a handful of time. 6’3” and 22-years-old is a good start.

• A three-man race for the Charlie Davies role at camp amongst Marcus Tracy (Welcome to the USMNT program, Marcus!), Robbie Findley and Jeff Cunningham. Should be a good one to watch.

• Goodnight Frankie Hedjuk. You will be missed.

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