CARSON, Calif. – Though Erick “Cubo” Torres fizzled a bit after his hot start last year – he finished his rookie campaign on a six-game scoreless streak – what the forward managed to do before then has new Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera grinning from ear to ear.
The Goats lacked a consistent offensive weapon all of 2013 until Torres arrived from parent club CD Guadalajara in mid-July and proceeded to lead the team with seven goals.
“We’re expecting that he’ll continue working the way he works, with his mentality to score goals, be close to the area and cause problems for opponents,” Cabrera told MLSsoccer.com. “He has a good mentality and likes to score goals. We like him and like that he’s always thinking about scoring.”
Forced to adjust quickly to a new team, league and country last season, the 21-year-old Torres nevertheless experienced immediate success, scoring in his MLS debut to help the Goats end a 14-game winless drought. He followed that up by finding the back of the net six more times in his next eight games, including twice each against the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 25 and Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 1.
He appeared in 15 total matches – missing only one minute in that span – but failed to score in the final six as Chivas USA limped across the finish line. Despite those late-season struggles, the Goats had not seen so much production from one player since 2011, when Nick LaBrocca and Justin Braun tied for the team lead with eight goals apiece, and Torres is excited for a fresh start this spring.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to start this season from zero and have a preseason,” Torres told MLSsoccer.com. “I have some experience now and know what this league is about, what the games and stadiums are like. I feel much more comfortable and armed for the start of this season.”
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Torres said he now has improved knowledge of the league, as well as a better grasp of English, so he feels no pressure heading into his sophomore season, even with a new coach at the helm.
“For me, it’s a motivating, positive factor that can help me do well this year,” Torres said. “I’ve still got things to learn, but every day I’m learning more about the league and the United States. I’ve got to keep progressing and build off the six months I had here last year.”