CARSON, Calif. -- Massive. Excellent. Battler. Those were just some of the adjectives used by Erick Torres' Chivas USA teammates to describe the forward known as "Cubo" on Wednesday night following a 1-0 victory against Toronto FC at the StubHub Center.
Torres, acquired earlier this month from affiliate C.D. Guadalajara, scored the game-winner in the 79th minute in his MLS debut, helping the Goats snap a grueling 14-game winless streak despite having played with 10 men for 65 minutes.
Afterward, the 20-year-old did his best to deflect the credit.
“This is a team achievement,” Torres told reporters. “It has a lot of value because we played a man down, but we never lost hope. That led to this victory.”
Teammates and head coach José Luis “Guero” Real, though, gushed about the skill set Torres has brought with him to Chivas USA, who have been lacking a finisher up top since the team traded Juan Agudelo in early May.
“A big difference,” Real told reporters.
“His movement up top was excellent. He made my job a lot easier,” said midfielder Tristan Bowen, who helped set up the goal with a pristine pass on the counter attack.
“It’s nice to have him,” said fellow debutant Carlos Bocanegra, who played in his first MLS match since 2003. “He’s a battler up there. He’s a worker. He did pretty well holding the ball. He was up there kind of by himself and that’s always hard against two strong center backs. That was nice to see. Hopefully there’s a lot more of those goals in him.”
Torres almost scored 15 minutes into the second half, but was unable to finish a golden opportunity from close range on the tail end of a Bowen pass. He redeemed himself, though, sending a left-footed missile that deflected off Toronto’s Steven Caldwell and into the back of the net.
“Soccer is a game of mistakes and it was important for me to recover from that earlier miss,” Torres said. “Thankfully another opportunity presented itself and I needed a bit of fortune to score.”
Chivas USA went a man down in the 25th minute when midfielder Eric Avila received a straight red card for his tackle on Darel Russell. Avila watched the rest of the match in the locker room and breathed a sigh of relief when Torres worked his magic.
“Dinner is in order,” Avila said with a laugh. “I’ll bring the dessert, too, because I left my team out in the trenches. It’s really good to have someone like him.”