Erick Torres – Pumas Win the Battle for Cubo

Erick Torres – Pumas Win the Battle for Cubo

Jack Grimse –

The battle for Erick Torres rages on, with Pumas UNAM signing the forward from the Houston Dynamo.

Liga MX adds a 14-goal striker from MLS as the seven-time Mexico international heads from Houston to Mexico City in a deal worth $1.9 million, and it looks like the Dynamo decided it was time to cut their losses on their former record signing, who was originally brought in for more than $7 million.

Houston Dynamo GM Matt Jordan wouldn’t confirm the fee but said the deal was “mutually beneficial.”

Érick Estefano ‘Cubo’ Torres, who just turned 25 a week ago, will play in Mexico’s top flight once again, having flip-flopped leagues three times now since joining Chivas USA on loan from hometown club Chivas Guadalajara back in 2013. That’s where Cubo made his mark, scoring a goal every 175 minutes (22 goals in 44 appearances) for the now-defunct club. It was quite literally just about a goal scored in every-other game, as Torres bagged 7 in 15 games as a rookie in 2013 and followed it up with 15 goals in 29 games in 2014.

Houston Dynamo paid $7 million for Erick Torres

A 17-month loan turned into a club-record transfer to Houston in January of 2015 after Chivas USA folded and the Dynamo saw a very talented youngster and purchased his rights for more than $7 million, with Erick Torres going back to on-loan Guadalajara until June before being assigned a Designated Player spot after his loan to the Liga MX club finished. He failed to score in his first 22 MLS appearances for the Dynamo, playing just 739 minutes over the course of the 2015 and 2016 seasons as Owen Coyle was unable to get the best out of him.

A short-term loan to Cruz Azul saw Torres make just three appearances and play 44 minutes between September and December of 2016, with injuries leading to Cruz Azul declining the purchase option. Erick Torres returned to the Dynamo having not scored a goal since March 19, 2015 – in Copa MX Clausura play against Chiapas FC, a club would go on to dissolve this past summer in July and having not scored in MLS play since September 27, 2014.

But 2017 brought new beginnings. Reuniting with former Chivas USA boss Wilmer Cabrera brought back the Torres of old – Cubo couldn’t be contained by opposition defenders at the start of the campaign. Scoring in each of the Dynamo’s first three matches, Erick Torres jumped to an early lead in the MLS Golden Boot race after a Matchday 4 hat-trick against the New England Revolution made it six goals on the young season.

By the Fourth of July he had scored 12 in 17, but by season’s end, Cubo Torres found himself ten goals shy of Nemanja Nikolic’s trophy-bagging tally of 24 after failing to score in his last 539 minutes on the pitch (MLS Playoffs included). Still, his figure of 14 goals was good enough to set the Dynamo club record for goals in a single MLS season.

Erick Torres – A restart in Mexico?

It was a slump of epic proportions. Erick Torres scored in just one of his final 14 appearances, bagging a brace and adding an assist in a wild Texan Derby against FC Dallas. Still, it looked like the Dynamo (who had the lowest wage bill in MLS in 2017) could try to move Torres (their top earner) and his contract, which paid him $650,000.

Just a few weeks back there were talks between Veracruz and the Dynamo, but the deal fell through. This week, a deal was struck quickly. Pumas enquired about the player Tuesday night, Torres had his medical on Wednesday afternoon, and the club announced the deal was done during the middle of a cup game.

Erick Torres struggled to find the net in the second half of last season. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Erick Torres struggled to find the net in the second half of last season. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

It leaves just four forwards with MLS experience on the Dynamo roster – Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, Romell Quioto and Andrew Wenger. Mac Steeves, a collegiate teammate (Providence) of last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel, was selected in the second round of last week’s MLS Super Draft (43rd overall). However, Steeves is expected to start the season with the Dynamo’s USL affiliate, Rio Grande Valley FC.

Getting $650,000 in wages off the books leaves Houston with a lot of flexibility heading into the 2018 season. Still, it goes down as a loss of about $5 million purely from a transfer fee standpoint.

Pumas UNAM, current frontrunners in Liga MX, will feel that they got a cut-price deal on a player that has shown a massive upside. Most recently called up for last summer’s Gold Cup, Torres may only have one senior international goal to his name, but if Pumas boss David Patiño can get the best out of Cubo, UNAM may have found a great striker to partner Nicolás Castillo up top.

Although he hated the sport as a child, Jack Grimse eventually developed an obsession for the beautiful game despite the fact that he chose to support Aston Villa. A broadcast journalism graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jack fell in love with Bundesliga football while studying in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter: @JackGrimse