MLS Rumors: Erick “Cubo” Torres Linked to Chicago Fire


One of the more interesting stories in MLS, at least amongst teams not in the postseason, has been Chivas USA disbanding and where their players will end up.  Perhaps the most intriguing players discussed has been Mexican National Team and MLS star Erick “Cubo” Torres.

His situation differs greatly from other USA players in the fact that he was on the team due to loan, meaning the dispersal draft does not apply to him. From the looks of it, his Liga MX parent club, Club Deportivo De Guadalajara (known more widely as Chivas) have no use to him and are open to selling him back to MLS. Possible suitors for Torres include the usual suspects-Seattle and Los Angeles, but according to Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports 1’s Grant Wahl it may be Eastern Conference bottom-dweller Chicago Fire who have first dibs on Cubo.

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  • Chicago was relatively lukewarm in last year’s transfer window, snatching the likes of Welsh International Robert Earnshaw, Romanian veteran Razvan Cocis, and Florent Sinama-Pongolle, the French Freddy Adu.  However they were known more for who they didn’t get than who they did.  Jermaine Jones and DaMarcus Beasley were both heavily linked with moves to Chicago following the World Cup, but both left for other MLS teams, New England and Houston, respectively.

    Jones’s move to New England was especially painful to Fire fans due to the manner in which it happened.  ESPN’s Alexi Lalas had all but confirmed the German-American’s move to Chicago.  At the last second, however, MLS commissioner Don Garber inexplicably decided a blind draw was the way to go in deciding between Chicago and dark horses New England, much to the chagrin of Fire fans.  Jones went to New England, and given the fact that they’re in the playoffs and Chicago’s players are back in their home town, we can guess who that worked out better for.

    But Chicago’s luck may be turning around, and they may have that same blind draw to thank.  Wahl revealed that due to Chicago’s loss in the secret blind draw for MLS’s most recent import, they may be in an optimal position for the next one.   First off, they skimmed their budget down ten fold to make room for a DP, axing Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka, Daniel Paladini, Giuseppe Gentile, and Orr Barouch in order to create room in their budget.  And Jermain Jones’s rumors indicates MLS has had Chicago in mind as the next destination for a DP.

    It should be noted that in the world of MLS transfers, nothing is guaranteed and almost everything is made up on the spot. Players aren’t transferred to MLS teams rather than the league itself, who then decides what to do with them. Players are then inserted into an allocation draft or are sent directly to a team based usually on convenience.

    Example: Landon Donovan should have landed in Dallas in his re-entry draft after leaving Bayer Leverkusen.  Instead he was sent to LA. Dempsey should have gone to Portland, but instead ended up in Seattle.

    MLS likes to distribute their big signings, which while despite the flaws discussed above, also has some good.  It prevents, say, LA Galaxy, from compiling every star entering the league.  Imagine MLS if Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, LD, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Liam Ridgewell, Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley, Obafemi Martins, and Carlos Bocanegra all played for LA.  Exactly.  So as with all the above players, it is likely MLS will select where they feel Torres belongs.

    Chicago seems to be at the front of their mind. Partially because MLS owes us one.  And also because it would return Chicago to a contender. Once a storied MLS franchise, Chicago’s accomplishments, marketability, and attendance has dwindled in recent years.  Most Chicagoans who are casual soccer fans cannot name a current fire player, but will recall a time where Beasley, Bocanegra, Cuhotemoc Blanco, and Brian McBride all played here (not all at the same time of course).  Chicago is one of the nation’s biggest soccer markets, but largely goes untapped.

    Bringing in Torres would do wonders for the Men in Red, especially in an effort to appeal to an enormous Latino demographic in Chicago.  Latino fans at Toyota Park are often some of the most fervent and committed, and even have their own supporters section at the other end of the park from The Harlem End.  However they make up such a small percentage of fans. If that number increased, Chicago could become one of the hardest places to play in MLS.

    But all we can do now is wait, and see. As MLS has shown us before, the transfer gods are a fickle being.  But if it were to happen, Torres in Chicago could be mutually beneficial to both the league and the team.  As ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman said once. “MLS is simply more entertaining when Chicago is a force in the East.” And, well, Erick “Cubo” Torres would make that happen in a heartbeat.