Now that it’s all said and done, you have to admit the pieces really fall into place.
Erick “Cubo” Torres is an explosive young talent, proven in Major League Soccer but lacking a team after Chivas USA disintegrated. The Houston Dynamo are a stable franchise that needed to inject some life into a strike force that leaned a bit too heavily on Will Bruin and Giles Barnes.
New manager Owen Coyle is promising exciting football in Houston, a city that is 40-plus percent Hispanic. MLS pays $7.5 million for Torres who, after a six-month loan stint to Guadalajara, stays extremely marketable for the league.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining the Houston Dynamo. It’s one of the premier clubs in MLS and a place where I really wanted to sign,” Torres said in a club statement. “I can’t wait to join my teammates in Houston and continue their success on the field.”
Torres will join the Dynamo after a six-month loan to Chivas Guadalajara that was negotiated as part of the transfer deal. The loan will see Torres spend “up to six months” in Liga MX, according to the team release.
Houston missed the playoffs by 10 points in the Eastern Conference, and certainly needed to make amends for a woeful attack unit that scored the fourth-fewest goals in Major League Soccer.
— Torres scored 15 goals in 29 games this season, while Houston forwards Will Bruin (10), Omar Cummings (3) and Mark Sherrod (2) combined for 15 (Barnes had a team-high 11).
— Torres took 95 shots last season, a pace that would’ve put him in a race with Barnes to lead the Dynamo.
— Torres turns 22 on Jan. 19.
Houston could be sneaky good next year, even in a new, tougher West.
Several players will either be unavailable or have uncertain status heading into the draft. The Goats’ best asset is unavailable, as Erick “Cubo” Torres belongs to Liga MX’s Chivas. MLS may be working out a deal to buy the young Mexican star, but that won’t keep him in the draft.
Ecuador’s World Cup midfielder Oswaldo Minda is out of contract in December, so a team could theoretically choose him and try to work out a new contract. That seems unlikely, and a few other Chivas USA players were on loan to the club, so forget about Felix Borja, Leandro Barrera and Luis Bolanos. Eriq Zavaleta is Sounders property, while Eric Avila is being sold to Santos Laguna.
There’s also the ban on trading picks, though one wonders if that prohibits teams from trading the players after they’ve been selected.
So where does that leave us for the draft? Let’s try mocking it out. There will likely be more than a few “passes” here, but we’ll assume everyone takes a player and have a little fun with a lot of spitballing.
1. FC Dallas – The top player on the board is goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who worked wonders for the Goats. But FCD doesn’t necessarily need an upgrade at keeper with Peru national teamer Raul Fernandez and longtime backup Chris Seitz in the fold. Will they choose Kennedy?
I don’t think so. For one thing, Oscar Pareja has already worked with Chivas USA midfielders Marvin Chavez and Nathan Strugis in Colorado. Plus, there are arguments to be made for a pair of Texas-born players, forward Kris Tyrpak and defender Bobby Burling, but I think in the end it will be hard for Pareja and company to pass on 19-year-old Homegrown midfielder Marco “Marky” Delgado.
2. New York City FC – If Dallas leaves Kennedy alone, NYCFC is in the catbird seat. To be able to walk into MLS with an established goalkeeper who knows the league would be a boon for the expansion side. With Orlando City having traded for Tally Hall, the league would have two new teams with experienced keepers. The pick is Dan Kennedy.
3. Sporting Kansas City – They need goals, but Chivas USA only scored 29 so there aren’t exactly loads to go around. Given the injury problems that thrust Erik Palmer-Brown into the Starting XI this summer, Sporting goes for an instant boost on D. Burling is a possibility, but I think Andrew Jean-Baptiste moves to KC.
4. DC United – They know how to defend, so DC United settles for the hopes of production by adding winger Marvin Chavez
5. New England Revolution – Chivas USA only saw second-round midfielder Thomas McNamara for a limited time, but the man made an impact before suffering a major knee injury. Jay Heaps can bet on the New York native and see what happens.
Picks cannot be traded, so Dallas is on the clock for 4pm on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is considered the best of a bunch that includes Ecuadorian World Cup midfielder Oswaldo Minda, midfielder Thomas McNamara, young American forward Kris Tyrpak, 30-year-old defender Bobby Burling (pictured) and Homegrown Academy players Caleb Calvert and Marky Delgado.
Erick “Cubo” Torres enjoyed a excellent season in Major League Soccer when he signed on loan at Chivas USA in 2013, scoring a massive percentage of the Goats goals, especially this season when he netted 16 scores in 26 appearances.
At a certain points, he looked like the league’s best striker, propelling his team forward with few dynamic players on his side, and the crafty skill the 21-year-old exhibited this year really supported the action to keep him in MLS for years to come.
Nevertheless, he was loaned from CD Guadalajara, and the Liga MX side could use his services. At the same time, MLS commissioner Don Garber doesn’t want to see Torres exit, so he may utilize the buy-out option to facilitate the Mexico international’s stay in the US.
Torres disclosed that he did enjoy his time in Los Angeles, and respects the fact that MLS wishes to have him on the pitch in the future. But in the end, he’s aiming to make his mark down south in his home country.
“I’ve felt very good there [in Los Angeles], the league and team has treated me very well in general. I’ve felt very comfortable on and off the field, it’s a source of pride that the league wants to keep me.”
“I have no doubt that I will return,” Torres said, speaking about Guadalajara. “I don’t know if it will be in January or inside four or five years with more experience. I know that I’ll return to score lots of goals,” he added, “and make the fans here happy.”
MLS commissioner Don Garber had the following to say in a short statement on the league’s website, as he confirmed that a new ownership group will be announced on Oct. 30 for LA’s second MLS franchise and it will begin operations in 2017.
“As part of our new strategy for Southern California — a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support — we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success.”
MLS also announced that it will conduct a Dispersal Draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future.
This news comes as no real surprise after the league took control of the franchise back in February 2014 with a view to finding a new ownership group. Rumors suggest that Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan is part of a consortium who are looking to tie up a deal for LA’s second MLS franchise and the announcement revealing the identity of the new owners is expected to arrive on Thursday, Oct. 30.
In an open letter to Chivas USA’s fans, Garber gave some more details on the plans for the new MLS franchise in LA and talked about a new soccer specific stadium, which is thought to be downtown.
“I can assure you that this new team will have world-class ownership with local connections and residency and a commitment to a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area,” Garber said. “I believe that our new strategy for Los Angeles provides the best opportunity for success and is the best way to connect with an engaged and impassioned fan base in Southern California. I am confident that this new direction will help us achieve our goal of becoming one of the top leagues in the world.”
During their ill-fated time in the league after their arrival in 2004 as a subsidiary of C.D. Chivas Guadalajara, Chivas USA made the playoffs during three-straight seasons from 2006-08 but have struggled through the past four seasons with little success. After Jorge Vergara sold Chivas USA to Major League Soccer, the writing was on the wall for the future of the club who will now have a new home in Downtown LA and become what a MLS always wanted, a genuine contender to the LA Galaxy.
Their exit will also have a big impact on the league for the 2015 season. With Orlando City and New York City FC joining for MLS’ 20th season, North America’s top-flight will have 20 teams split into two 10 team conferences. Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo will make the move from the Eastern Conference to the West.
After a long struggle, Chivas USA are no more. They have been confined to the history books of Major League Soccer, never to return.