CARSON, Calif. -- Chivas USA’s youth movement was on full display last weekend, bringing a smile to the face of head coach José Luis “Guero” Real’s as his assigned “project” continued to take shape.
Erick “Cubo” Torres, 20, scored twice in Sunday’s 3-2 upset of the New York Red Bulls to double his team lead with four goals, and 19-year-old forward Julio Morales netted his first professional goal. It was only the second time they started alongside each other atop Chivas USA’s formation, but it certainly won’t be the last.
With the last-place Rojiblancos far from playoff contention, Real has vowed to integrate the club’s youngsters into the lineup every week.
WATCH: Torres nets 2nd goal vs. NY
“I thank Guero for the confidence he has shown in us,” Morales said. “Yes, we’re young, but we have a good attitude to do good things for ourselves, the fans and the club.”
Torres came within inches of bagging his first professional hat trick, as a shot in the second half bounced off the post. Despite playing in only six games, the Guadalajara native already has four goals -- two more than Carlos Alvarez, Tristan Bowen and Eric Avila have scored for the Goats this season. The stats might suggest that his adaptation to MLS has seen few bumps, but Torres said that’s not the case.
“I’m still not there,” Torres said. “I’m feeling better and more adapted to this league, but I’ve got to keep adding to my skills. I’m working to get to my maximum potential.”
One teammate believes that potential is limitless.
“He has big potential, he’s a great kid and a funny kid,” veteran Carlos Bocanegra said. “You can just tell he enjoys his football. Hopefully he continues to go at this same rate. I’m sure someone big is going to snatch him up.”
Real deployed Torres alone up top in recent contests but altered the plan against New York in an attempt to spark an offensive attack that had not scored two goals in a game since April. With Morales and Torres playing off each other, Chivas USA were “super organized from the beginning,” according to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The inexperience is prevalent, but the Goats have little to lose at this point.
“We’re young in general,” Torres said. “The team doesn’t have much experience. We have the drive to improve and aspirations to earn selections to national teams. By becoming more in tune with each other, hopefully we’ll be able to bring joy to these fans.”
Blair Angulo covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.