Coach Jason Kreis sends the RSL reserves into their first game of the season today against FC Dallas, and one guy who figures to see a fair bit of action is newly acquired Conor Chinn.
The 23-year-old forward joined RSL officially last week, just a few weeks after being waived by the New York Red Bulls. Chinn played nine games in all competitions for the Red Bulls as a rookie last season — scored twice in a U.S. Open Cup game against Philadelphia — and was thrilled to find a place in a winning team so quickly.
"The team is just incredible," he said. "The guys make you feel right at home."
Kreis and general manager Garth Lagerwey said Chinn still has a way to go before he's featuring among the top forwards on the team. He's basically a replacement for fourth forward Pablo Campos, who was cut during training camp.
But Kreis said he was happy to add a bigger player who potentially can increase his strategic options up top.
"Previously, we had four … that were very, very good forwards, each in their own right," he said. "But three of them, for me, were a little too similar. So we only kind of had one that was a big body that kind of could hold things up for us. I was concerned with that. We're fortunate that Conor became available, so now it's kind of up to him to prove that he's capable of that and to prove that he's good enough to contribute to us going forward."
Chinn knows that, saying he understands he's still a young player who hopes to use the "great environment" at RSL to help him develop. But who knows? Maybe he can use his self-described "nose for the goal" to make a little impact here and there; after all, he scored three times in his nine appearances for the Red Bulls last year.
"They were saying last year, they aren't the prettiest goals, but the balls go in," he joked. "I'm smiling."
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