Keeping former Chivas USA and Mexican international striker Erick “Cubo” Torres in MLS was one of the biggest news items in an offseason of major player signings.
And he received an appropriate welcome from fans of his new club, the Houston Dynamo, when he arrived Sunday to get a look at his new digs, where he will play following the conclusion of his loan to Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara this summer (or perhaps even sooner) after he signed a Designated Player contract last December.
"I’m very pleased with the reception from the airport were waiting for me,” Torres said in an exclusive interview with Tiro Libre Radio FutbolMLS.com. “[I came to] see the facilities, and the people here with the Dynamo, and within five months I would like to adapt completely to the team.
"It motivates me to be here, makes me happy to have a taste of what will be in five months [be the next] four years of my life.”
On the brief trip to Houston, Torres was presented with the Dynamo shirt and unveiled to a group of fans and media. In the interview with Tiro Libre Radio, translated by MLSsoccer.com, Torres, who had a breakout season with Chivas USA last season with 15 goals, spoke about the decision to remain in MLS, his time with Guadalajara, his prospects with El Tri and what he expects when he joins Houston (listen to the interview above).
He also revealed that he was presented with the option to join Houston sooner, but said he requested he stay with Guadalajara until the end of their season: "I had in mind that I wanted to someday return to Chivas."
“We must fulfill what has been discussed. As soon as I am released from my involvement with Chivas [I will come to Houston], but before that I don’t think I will come, " Torres said.
Despite his desire to return to the club that gave him his start while they are in the midst of a relegation battle, playing time with Chivas has been hard to come by so far. In fact, Torres has primarily featured in the domestic cup competition, the Copa MX, where he scored a goal last week.
If it continues, will the lack of playing time hurt his prospects with El Tri?
Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera told Tiro Libre Radio FutbolMLS.com in an interview last week that Torres remains in his plans and still has time to impress, though he did say he would continue to monitor Torres' playing time with Chivas.
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Torres said on Sunday that he has spoken recently with Herrera and that he continues to work hard in training for an opportunity to play more minutes with Chivas.
"Of course it's very important that I maintain my rhythm, there are many quality players on the national team, and many strikers who can be too," Torres said.
The striker said his goal on a national team level would be to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup or Copa America, which will both be held this summer.
Short of that, there are other opportunities for him to be involved in the national program, including the Pan American Games, to be held in Canada in July. It is expected that the U-22 team at the Pan American Games will help form the basis for Mexico's Olympic squad in 2016, should the defending gold medalists qualify.