CARSON, Calif. – When Erick “Cubo” Torres first arrived in California last summer, he spoke of his ambition to earn a look with the Mexican national team and, ultimately, to play in Europe.
Step one has been checked off the list, with Torres, No. 2 on MLS's 24 Under 24 list released Thursday, receiving his second call-up to El Tri earlier this week, and the dynamic star’s steady rise in MLS could eventually catapult him to even greater heights.
Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera was not here when Cubo arrived last July, but he’s still noticed plenty of growth from his striker this year.
“I’ve been seeing him more mature and understanding more the concept of being an important role player on the team,” Cabrera told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously, he’s still young and excited about the national team and going through that, but for us, it’s necessary for him to be on the field.”
Torres has missed the previous four games – the first two while he was with Mexico for their stateside friendlies and the last two while on red-card suspension. Cabrera said Torres would return to the lineup Saturday for their road match against the Seattle Sounders (4 pm ET; MLS Live). The Rojiblancos have another game Oct. 5 against Real Salt Lake before Torres leaves for Mexico City as the national team prepares for matches against Honduras and Panama.
“He was a little bit off with the call up to the national team,” Cabrera said. “It’s new and he’s dealing with that, but he’s taking it well. Now he wants to play, and he’s ready.
“He’s leaving us again, but it’s good for him even though it’s bad for us. Hopefully in the [next] two games he can find a momentum and can find some goals.”
Torres, who has scored 21 goals in 40 games since arriving on loan from Guadalajara, played the full 90 minutes against Bolivia on Sept. 9. Now, teammate Dan Kennedy wants to see him find the back of the net for his country.
“He’s deserving of it,” Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s not like it’s just a handout – the Mexican national team is extremely hard to get called into, particularly if you’re playing in MLS because they draw from their own league. It speaks volumes about what he’s been able to accomplish here. The best attribute he has is he can score out of nothing, with limited chances – it doesn’t matter, he can find the back of the net. I hope in his next call up he gets a goal. Now it’s time for him to get one.”
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Kennedy also likened Torres to another renowned goal scorer.
"He’s got what you can't teach, and he'll continue to grow and be just like Chris Wondolowski where he’s just deadly in the box," Kennedy said. "Sometimes those players that aren’t the flashiest on the ball get overlooked. Fortunately, Cubo is not being overlooked. At his age, the movement he has and the ability to find the net is unbelievable. I think he’ll continue on this upward progression where he’ll become more and more dangerous as a player."