HOUSTON – For one Sunday in February, Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres found himself in a Houston Dynamo uniform. Now the question is when that will become a permanent state of affairs.
Currently on loan at Chivas Guadalajara, Houston’s offseason gem flew in for a one-day event to meet the media and shake hands with a strong showing of fans, all within a seven-hour window before heading back to Mexico.
It was a glimpse into what things will look like whenever Torres’ loan deal with Chivas Guadalajara expires. That date could come sooner than some thought.
Part of Torres’ transfer from Chivas to the Dynamo was a loan stint that could last up to six months. Speaking with the media after Sunday’s press conference, Dynamo president Chris Canetti alluded to contractual triggers that could push that move date forward.
“There’s an opportunity to get him here before May 13 depending on how things go down at Chivas. If not, then we have to wait for the [July] window to open,” Canetti told the media. “We have terms in our contract that I can’t disclose that indicate when the loan can end. It’s got moving parts to it. We’ve got scenarios that work for us to get him here earlier.
“We’re hoping very much that things could fall in our favor and contractually the loan can end and we can get him here before the window closes. “
Maneuvering around the MLS transfer window is just one variable to the equation. There’s also the prospect of summer national team duty. The Mexican national team is scheduled to take part in the Copa America and Gold Cup. Selection for either could delay his arrival.
“I talked to [El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera] before I made my decision to come here and he said he would keep an eye on me and that I was in his plans for the summer,” Torres said through a translator. “I know what the challenges are. Regardless of where I get picked, I’ll be happy to represent my country.”
Canetti said the club will likely speak with the El Tri officials to get a better grasp on those summer plans. The Copa America takes place in Chile in June, while the Gold Cup will be held in the US in July.
In the meantime, Torres will be a part of Chivas’ ongoing relegation fight. How much of a role he’ll actually play remains to be seen. The 22-year-old has seen sporadic playing time with Chivas’ first team, making his biggest contributions in Copa MX.
“I know I haven’t had a lot of minutes, but I’ve been doing everything I can to train hard and work hard at training,” Torres said. “I’ve been playing a lot in Copa MX and that gives me some minutes that allow me to stay at a good level in terms of soccer and on the field.”
It’s a positive outlook on a tough situation. After all, cup matches and late-game run-outs aren’t ideal preparation for international competitions and also bring up questions about the usefulness of the loan.
In the meantime, Houston’s excitement to bring their new signing in, perhaps even ahead of schedule, hasn’t waned and the feeling is he’s still the perfect fit for the club.
“I’m very motivated and very grateful for the effort from the Dynamo front office,” Torres said. “Now I just have to be patient in the next five or six months to deliver results to repay them for all the attention they pay to me.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.