Erick “Cubo” Torres is already a “name” in Mexican and MLS circles. His new boss Owen Coyle thinks his ceiling is much, much higher.
The recently-appointed Dynamo manager had high praise for the burgeoning Mexican national-teamer, lauding his quick feet and ability to score goals from anywhere. When asked which striker Torres reminds him of from his English soccer past, the Coyle picked a lofty standard-bearer.
“The one that sticks out for me was Daniel Sturridge,” Coyle said in a conference call with reporters. “I brought Daniel to Bolton from Chelsea and he was the top English scorer for the second part of that season and went on to play at Liverpool and the World Cup and I would think in that bracket of a world class striker. Cubo has those abilities.
“Daniel has two very good feet, great awareness, knows where the goals are and can score with his left foot and can score headed goals, and Cubo ticks every box in that and he has the same aptitude for the game,” Coyle continued. “He has every attribute required to be a top international striker at the very highest part of the game.”
It’s lofty praise for the 21-year-old. Sturridge is currently one of the top forwards in the EPL and for the English national team. While Torres may not have his physical attributes, the skill comparison fits. Both players can score in a multitude of ways from various areas on the field and both have a nose for goal.
Now Torres, who scored 15 goals for Chivas USA last season, will have to work to hit that level, and working with a former forward in Coyle, not to mention a coach with a strong development record is a draw for the Mexican national teamer.
“I’m going to try and learn every day,” Torres, who was encouraged to stay in MLS by El Tri boss Miguel Herrera, said through a translator. “It’s very important to be part of this team and to train with this coach. I’ll do my best every day to earn a spot on the starting line.”
The comparison is a glimpse into what the expectations are for the newest Dynamo striker. Houston had a pair of double digit goal scorers in 2014, Giles Barnes (11) and Will Bruin (10), for just the second time in club history. Torres will be counted on to come in and add to that scoring punch.
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How he’ll get those goals is the question. Once Torres arrives Coyle will have options as to how he wants to configure his attacking group, with Bruin and Barnes slated to be in the fold this season.
Three-and-a-half months before the season, though, Coyle wouldn’t bite on how he’ll deploy his wealth of resources but it’s clear that the player that reminds him of his former pupil has him excited about his options.
“Obviously I can’t give too much away … If we decide to play one up front, two up front, three up front; coaches want the best players available and Cubo Torres adds to the mix of the players we’ve got,” Coyle said. “You can never have enough goal scorers at your club and in Cubo Torres we’ve got an elite goal scorer to do that.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.