The Houston Dynamo are in one funky streak, putting them in one funky position in the Western Conference. Despite having the second most goals in the West and less goals surrendered than fourth place FC Dallas for a goal differential of zero, the Dynamo are four points removed in last place. It’s a curious situation.
We will raise that curious situation another curious situation – that of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres. The Mexican U23 striker is a Designated Player for the Houston Dynamo and he has just made his first start following a loan spell at Guadalajara and a long spell on the bench, being used primarily as a substitute at the end of last season and now into this season.
Cuba has yet to score for the Houston Dynamo.
However, with changes needed, Owen Coyle elected to throw Cuba to the front of Houston’s 4-2-3-1 against Sporting Kansas City. Just to see what happens. To Cubo’s credit, Coyle has noted that he has been working extra hard in practice to gain some more playing time. Given that Will Bruin was one of the reasons why the Dynamo were scoring, though, it was hard to see where Torres would fit in.
Against Sporting KC, Cubo put in a curious effort. The Dynamo snapped their debilitating win-less streak that stretched back to when they first lost to the New York Red Bulls 4-3. In that streak, Torres has notched only 46 minutes of rather inconsequential playing time.
So being handed the start at home against Sporting KC with the Olympics three months away was kind of a big deal and something that someone with as much hype as Cubo should be able to capitalize one.
It’s hard to rate the performance. Mainly because Cubo attempted zero shots and only managed 17 touches on the ball in just 57 minutes of play. Sounds like a failed day. But going beyond those stats, we see where Cubo made inroads. His pass to set up Giles Barnes gorgeous first goal was exactly what it needed to be. He showed tremendous composure to control the ball and then flicked Barnes on towards goal.
Even beyond that, Cuba was finding himself in good positions to make a difference. He may have simply been a byproduct of a Dynamo offense that was sticking with the pieces that they knew would work at a time when they needed a breakthrough. Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger ran this game and they weren’t going to risk letting anyone else get in their way. Wenger’s goal could easily have been Cubo’s but the winger decided to shoot rather than play the ball to his wide open team mate. Hard to argue with the results.
Bruin had been a big piece of this offense, but it will be curious to see if Coyle sticks with the winning formula that includes Cubo.