Which MLS teams should be in the Cubo Torres sweepstakes?
Barely three months after returning to Major League Soccer for a transfer fee of $7 million, Erick “Cubo” Torres is reportedly on the trading block as the Houston Dynamo look to… do something ahead of the 2016 season.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
According to a Tuesday report from Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl, Torres is already being shopped by the Dynamo after failing to score a single goal in his 11 games (three starts) with the club after arriving in late July.
From SI‘s report:
If the Dynamo are looking to dump the 22-year-old Mexican international (one cap in 2015), it comes as no surprise that a number of teams would have already expressed interest in acquiring the forward who scored 15 goals for a very bad Chivas USA team as a 20-year-old. It’s worth forecasting, then, which teams could be interested in acquiring Torres this winter.
The “fits a need” crowd
Chicago Fire, D.C. United, Philadelphia Union, Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake are all very “duh” options here.
David Accam led the Fire in goals scored this year (10), but he’s very much a winger — a really good one, at — who would have had more assists and fewer goals in 2015 had the Fire had an MLS-caliber starting center forward all year long. They acquired Gilberto, who scored five in 10 games played, from TFC in the summer, but how long is he likely to remain in MLS? Not to mention, Torres, in his 2014 form, would be a slight upgrade over Gilberto at one-third of the price ($350,000 vs. $1.15 million).
The team that makes the most sense, though, is United. Trading for Alvaro Saborio this summer was an odd move, given his age (33) and salary ($400,000). To put it politely, it’s not really worked (4 goals in 12 games played). Fabian Espindola’s no spring chicken either, though as he has progressed in years, so has his game as more of a playmaker than leader of the line himself. A 4-4-1-1 with Espindola playing off the shoulder of Torres, just ahead of Perry Kitchen and a yet-to-be-acquired center mid sounds awfully good.
The Union have C.J. Sapong right now, and he scored nine times in 27 games this season, but that seems to be just about his ceiling five years into his pro career. Torres is an improvement over Sapong, but could they piece together enough assets without having to give up who would be Torres’s greatest chance creator, Cristian Maidana? There’s not a ton of value elsewhere in that team, to be completely honest.
[ MORE: Gerrard won’t be returning to Liverpool ]
The Rapids, under Pablo Mastroeni, don’t particularly like playing young, attack-minded players, so they’re probably out, though he’d be a huge coup and potential savior of that floundering franchise. RSL, meanwhile, love playing their kids and have not very much to like up top between Sebastian Jaime, Devon Sandoval and Olmes Garcia. Yuck.
The “is he be better than what we’ve got now?” crowd
Sporting Kansas City and San Jose Earthquakes find themselves in a place where acquiring Torres could be the catalyst for an offseason of change.
Dom Dwyer is the man for Sporting KC, but his production was nearly halved in 2015 (down to 12 goals, from 22) after receiving a big raise last winter ($400,000). There’s also the matter of constant interest from clubs in his native England and his desire to live and play in the same city as his wife, Sydney Leroux, which could eventually spell the end of his time in Kansas City. Much like Dwyer, though, Torres is very much reliant upon quality service to the striker, which would in part explain Dwyer’s dip in production this season.
The Earthquakes also have a seriously entrenched starter on their roster, Chris Wondolowski, but one would think we’re nearing the end of Wondo’s incredible run of 14 goals of more in five of the last six seasons (he turns 33 in January). Innocent Emeghara is scheduled to be back for the start of 2016 following meniscus surgery this year, but to what effect?
Interestingly enough, the depth of two Canadian teams — Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps — would each be hugely improved with the addition of Torres, but the lack of off-the-field incentive in Canada would probably cause each to balk at Houston’s asking price.