What to do with Cubo?


Erick "el Cubo" Torres is Chivas' latest scoring sensation

This summer, Mexican futbol will have to field three separate sides for a very frenzied slate of tournaments. The senior side has the Gold Cup, of course, while a U22 squad with 5 “wild cards” will compete in the Copa America. The U20 team earned the right to play in their category’s World Cup in Colombia after winning the CONCACAF qualifying tourney last week in Guatemala.

There is one intriguing player who qualifies to play in all three tournaments. The question is, where will Erick “el cubo” Torres play his summer ball? USA? Argentina? Colombia?

The Guadalajara striker has opened a lot of eyes this year with his six goals in eleven games, and he got so deep under the skin of America’s defense that they resorted to the darkest of arts to get him off his game.

It didn’t work. He scored one and set up another in Chivas’ 3-0 win.

He’s still only 18, though, which begs the question, has he done enough to warrant a call-up?

Not for the senior side. As incredulous as it is for me to write this, Mexico seems to be okay at the striker and forward positions. Torres would have a hard time getting any PT on this team.

Chances of playing in the Gold Cup? 5% I would put this at 0%, but I have to factor in the Mexican futbol crazy quotient, which right now is estimated conservatively at 5%

What about Copa America? If this squad has a dearth of talent anywhere, it is the striker/forward position. The void may leave U22 coach, Luis FernandoTena no option other than to select up to two forwards as a wild-card choice. But if he decides to go with Torres, it gives him a very decent target forward that he otherwise would not have. It also frees up one of his wild card choices which he could use to reinforce another area of the roster. Best of all, it would allow Tena to pair up Torres with his Guadalajara teammate, Marco Fabian, with whom he appears to have developed a solid chemistry.

Chances of playing Copa America: 45%. The U22 have no real goal scoring threat, and Cubo would give them exactly that. But he has little international experience.

U20 coach Juan Carlos Chavez could not understand why he was being asked questions about Torres when his team was fresh off winning the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. After not qualifying for the 2009 U20, the coach decided to keep a base of players together for two years to avoid the same fate. His youngsters went on tour, playing mostly in South American invitationals and did very well. They cruised through CONCACAF qualifying, scoring 18 goals while only allowing 2. The rapport the players had developed was palpable and they look to be serious contenders this summer in Colombia. Despite all that, the reporters all wanted to know if he was going to take Cubo to the U20s.

Chances of playing the U20 World Cup: 50%. We have to remember that he is only 18, and players like this cannot be rushed in their development. Is Chavez going to dance with who brung him, or add an “outsider” to the mix?

Torres is getting close to going from prospect to talent (and after the success with Chicharito, I hope the coach who trains strikers in the Chivas youth ranks gets a healthy bonus) and he should be going to Colombia with the U20s so that he can continue the process. But if he keeps scoring goals for Chivas, the invisible hand that controls Mexican futbol may decide that Argentina, and not Colombia is where he should spend his summer vacation.

Either way, Mexico fans hope to see plenty of robot dances, either tangos or cumbias, this summer.