Mexico has produced some excellent forwards down through the years, from Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez to current Manchester United poacher Javier Hernandez, with Cuauhtémoc Blanco sandwiched in between.
The latest emerging talent is Erick “Cubo” Torres Padilla, an exciting 21-year-old who has lit up Major League Soccer this season with Chivas USA.
Torres is on loan from parent team Club Deportivo Guadalajara of Liga MX for a second time, having scored seven goals in 15 games last season.
This time round, “Cubo” has bagged 14 goals in 19 games so far and the Los Angeles based club has already won as many games in 2014 (six) as they did in the preceding campaign – as the striker is one of the top scorers in MLS:
Interestingly, Torres’ goals have come in 14 different games, and he has found the net in each of his last six outings.
That excellent run of form has been rewarded with a spot in the 23-man MLS All Star squad to take on Bayern Munich in Portland on August 6th. He was one of two ‘commissioner’s picks’, which are afforded to the league’s main man Don Garber every year.
A player with an eye for the spectacular, Torres has scored some stunning goals so far this season with his dramatic late winner against the Montreal Impact winning Goal of the Week for Week 17.
Speaking on the ExtraTime Radio podcast last week, Chivas Coach Wilmer Cabrera praised Torres and is all too aware of the young striker’s importance to the team.
“We are thrilled about what Cubo is bringing for us because he’s a pure scorer,” he said.
“When he is around the goal, and he is in the box, you have to be careful because he is going to find a way to finish.
“He doesn’t need too many options, he just needs one, two, and he is going to put the ball right there in the goal.”
Having finished no higher than 8th in the Western Conference over the past four seasons, and with constant doubts over the future of the club, Torres has provided a much needed positive talking point.
Results have been good lately after a slow start but, despite winning four games in a row for the first time since 2008, the coaching staff and players are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
“We’re facing teams that are much, much better than us,” says playmaker Mauro Rosales.
Cabrera echoed those sentiments, and knows that there is still a lot of work to do to close the four point gap between them and a playoff spot.
“I am supporting what Mauro has been saying because, right now, we haven’t done anything,” he said on ExtraTime Radio.
“We are coming but with those four wins we are not even in a playoff position right now so we cannot be celebrating or we cannot be thinking that we’re good.
“We understand our position; we’re trying to catch up, we’re trying to do the right things, and for us every game is a final.”
While Cabrera is keen to stress that Chivas’ turn in fortunes has been very much a team effort, he also acknowledges that they would struggle if anything were to happen to Torres.
“If for any reason, and I’m knocking wood right now over here, we don’t have Cubo, you start thinking ‘Ok, who is going to step up and who is going to score goals for us?’” he said.
Given that Torres has scored 66% of Chivas’ goals so far, Cabrera’s line of thinking is understandable.
If his club form continues, Torres must come into contention for full international honours having already represented Mexico up to under 23 level, and he was a key member of the Under-20 squad that finished third at World Cup in 2011.
A full cap should be inevitable if his form continues, but for now Chivas fans are hoping that Torres can fire the club into the postseason for the first time since 2009.