It was the the Erick 'Cubo' Torres show in Houston, Texas, on Saturday night.
Torres helped the Houston Dynamo rout the New York Red Bulls, 4-1, by scoring a hat-trick at BBVA Compass Stadium. Torres' strong performance, which included a free-kick strike in second-half stoppage time, made him the first Houston player to find the back of the net in four consecutive games.
The Dynamo initially trailed in the match after Bradley Wright-Phillips netted 13 minutes in, but Dylan Remick found an immediate equalizer. Torres took over from there, smashing home the winner on a controversial penalty kick before halftime and then adding two more in the second half.
- 13' – NY – Bradley Wright-Phillips Watch
- 14' – HOU – Dylan Remick Watch
- 41' – HOU – Erick Torres (PK) Watch
- 56' – HOU – Erick Torres Watch
- 90+1' – HOU – Erick Torres Watch
- MAN POSSESSED: Erick 'Cubo' Torres has looked a much different player so far this season than he did a year ago, and Saturday's showdown only served as the latest reminder of that. Sure, Torres scored a hat-trick and that will draw attention on its own, but he was also a major threat over the course of the 90 minutes against a New York Red Bulls defense that struggled mightily to contain him. He by and large led the Dynamo attack, and that was needed given that fellow attacker Romell Quioto was out injured.
- DEFENSIVE DISASTER: This was not the defensive outing the Red Bulls had in mind. Not only did New York concede an equalizer a minute after taking the lead in the first half, but the defense as a whole just was not up to par. This was especially the case after Damien Perrinelle replaced a hurt Aurelien Collin in the 39th minute, forcing Luis Robles to make a number of big saves to keep the Red Bulls from falling further behind.
- IMMEDIATE RESPONSE: Torres deserves his share of praise for his stellar display, but so too does Dylan Remick for nodding home the corner that sparked Houston's comeback. Had that goal not come so quickly after Wright-Phillips' opener, the Red Bulls may have gained momentum. Alas, they did not and Houston picked three points in an emphatic way.