Houston has to start Erick “Cubo” Torres to turn their season around.
Houston, we have a problem. Well, to clarify, a lot of problems are on hand for the Houston Dynamo. They are second to last in the entire MLS, only ahead of the Chicago Fire, who have played two less matches. They met an all too similar fate in their midweek match up with former head coach Dominic Kinnear and his San Jose Earthquakes, dropping a 3-1 result.
What was different about this match than others, was that the Dynamo entered the match with a sliver of momentum, having defeated Sporting KC 2-0 on 5/7. That match also was the lone start this season for Designated Player, Erick “Cubo” Torres.
Brought on last season, the 23-year-old, Mexican international has had a less than storybook beginning to his stay in H-Town. Joining the club mid-season in, what was perceived as, less than ideal physical fitness hampered Torres getting on the field much in 2015. But, unlike some Designated Players who arrive in America and require an adjustment period to the league, Torres had a previous success stint in the US, on loan from Liga MX side Chivas Guadalajara to their now defunct MLS sister club, Chivas USA.
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He scored 22 goals in 44 appearances, becoming the all time leading scorer in the league for Mexican born players. He was such a hit in the league, that the MLS made it a priority to sign him and keep in the United States.
The poor conditioning added with joining a new team mid-season, with a new coach in Owen Coyle, might have been an acceptable excuses for his limited minutes last season, but not in 2016. Fans want to see a player who, not only occupies one of three DP slots, but also one whose Mexican roots make him a hit in the largely Hispanic Houston area. In this case, the fans are absolutely right to want more Cubo Torres.
He has appeared as a sub in 4 matches this year, and each time, he has provided a noticeable spark offensively. In his only start of the year against Sporting KC, he contributed a beautiful flip to Giles Barnes that led to an early goal for the Dynamo and consistently created more chances. He has talent, everyone can see that. Possibly only excluding Owen Coyle however, who after the rare positive result against KC, went back to his more usual forward Will Bruin, who is an average MLS striker at best.
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As we move towards the summer transfer period, in what right now appears to be a playoff-less season for Houston, they have to give Cubo Torres a run of starts. He is too talented to be a sometimes used substitute on a floundering team, confirmed by the Mexican U-23’s calling him up for action next week.
The organization and the coaching staff, which has to find its seating a bit warm, have to commit to starting him, to see if he can help bring more frequent positive results this season. We will see if Coyle allows Cubo to energize the club from the opening whistle this weekend, as they match up with Real Salt Lake, a team who shut out Houston earlier this year. If for some reason they feel he isn’t a necessary piece for the future, they will need to trade him, by finding an MLS club looking for a young, proven scorer in the league and in international play. I am certain there is a market for that.