El Cu-Bot

5 weeks. That is the time afforded to Cubo Torres to make the biggest decision of his career. Cubo told the media he has until December 15th to make a decision whether to stay in MLS or go back home and try to save the Chivas from themselves. From all accounts, it seems his mind is not made up either way. I am sure many would love the story book ending of him coming back to Guadalajara and leading the team from its relegation battle. I am not one of those fans but Joshua Picazo is. Today, we will both make our cases. Let us know in the comments who you agree with.

STAY WITH MLS

Cubo should stay in MLS and not head back to the disaster known as Chivas. I am not a Chivas fan but still feel my position would be the best for his career. In MLS, he has a league where he has excelled and grown as a player. A league that desperately wants him to stay, one where they will continue to build him up as a marquee player. Sure his old team no longer exists but that is directly due to the owner at Guadalajara. That should say a lot about the structure he would be stepping back into at Chivas. An owner that has fumbled the handling of Chivas so much, the club are in a serious relegation battle. A club where a manager’s tenure is measured in months, weeks even. Cubo would be expected to come into that mess and lift them from the LigaMX basement. Sounds like a lot of pressure for a 21yr player but he has been here before.

In 2010, just as Chicharito was taking off with Manchester United, the club and fans anointed Cubo as the new Chicharito. He was 17yrs old, just making his 1st team debut but the fans expected and some might say, were promised Chicharito Part Dos. Eventually, Cubo did not live up to overwhelming hype and the overall decline of the club did not help him. He was unceremoniously shipped off to the sister club of Chivas USA. Many fans (I’m sure plenty of club officials too) did not expect him to come back but they were proven wrong. Unfortunately for those fans/club officials, every MLS loan has to feature a buy option. After Vergara sold Chivas USA, the buy option was no longer under his control. If you were Cubo, would you want to go back to that?

Cubo is in a position of strength with MLS and can dictate the terms of his contract. The league reportedly offered him a salary in the neighborhood of $1.5mil per season. Vergara has said salary will not be an issue if Cubo returns but his transfer policy might. Torres has continually said he hopes to play in Europe like his fellow Mexico teammates. Vergara is not known to sell players  to Europe. He has a habit of over pricing his players to European teams who back down and move onto other players. Just ask Marco Fabian how frustrating that has been.  Cubo could sign w/MLS with the understanding that the league will allow him to head to Europe if a good offer comes their way.

Ultimately, Cubo will do what he wants but he can make that decision knowing Piojo will not overlook him for El Tri because he plays in MLS. There are a lot of player transfers made just to stay on the national team radar. It seems Piojo will not influence Cubo either way.  Wherever he lands, I just hope we keep seeing “El Robot” in a Mexico kit.
 GO BACK TO GUADALAJARA

There is little doubt that Erick “Cubo” Torres has become a very valuable player, and even less doubt Jorge Vergara and Co. made a miscalculation by loaning him to the now defunct  Chivas USA with an option to buy. In hindsight, perhaps it was slightly defensible. Cubo was struggling on the field and reportedly, off it as well. Torres was a young player being touted as the next Chicharito in Guadalajara, which was a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a teenager.

Two years and 22 goals later, it is clear Torres’ career could be beneficial to both Chivas and Mexico. The news that he was back in Mexico training with his old club has fans salivating at the idea of a return to the struggling team. The improvements to his game and confidence he has gotten in the MLS would make for a smooth transition to a club that desperately needs some form of attack. An attack that has not received enough goals from Omar Bravo, Aldo De Nigris or the oft injured Rafael Marquez Lugo. While Cubo netted 15 goals  this season alone, the Chivas have received just four goals from their forwards in 15 games.  At just 21 years old, Cubo could be the man to save his old club from relegation and cement a legacy for himself at the storied club.

That is the selfish Chivas point of view, but it could also help Torres fulfill another one of his goals. He has stated how much he wants to play for the Mexican National team and with the MLS season now over, a move back to Liga MX would drastically help him catch Piojo Herrera’s eye again. Piojo often calls in domestic league players for El Tri and it would keep him in form leading up to the Copa America and Copa Oro in the summer. A stay in MLS would mean no playing time until March, leaving him with limited time to impress El Tri. By helping stave off relegation, Cubo may help his own case and perhaps open the door to even bigger things.

     At the moment, however, his future is in Major League Soccer’s hands, and fans will be keeping an eye on Cubo in both America and Mexico.

Cubo Torres training with Chivas inside the Estadio Omnilife.

A photo posted by Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) on

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