It was the type of goal you don’t often see in Major League Soccer.
Chivas USA left back Tony Lochhead had the ball along the left sideline, lifted his head, spotted his target and sent a long, curving pass to the opposite side of the field. It might have traveled 40 yards. The only player who could play the ball was rapidly timing his approach.
Erick “Cubo” Torres never let it hit the ground. He blasted his volley from about 15 yards away into the upper right hand corner of the net.
It might be time to really start to appreciate the talent of the 21-yeard-old Torres. Chivas USA did early in the month when it locked him down for the rest of the season lest he slip through their fingers and back to Guadalajara.
“He’s got a quality you can’t teach,” Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said after the club’s 1-0 victory Saturday over Real Salt Lake. “His focus is just superb and for his age it’s hard to believe what he can come up with and pull off. The goal tonight reminded me of that bicycle kick in Vancouver last year where it’s just something out of nothing.”
In his second season with Chivas, the numbers are starting to add up for Torres, who scored seven goals in his 15 games in 2013.
This was his 15th game of 2014 and he already has 10 goals. His 17 goals all of a sudden brings him to within one of tying Maykel Galindo for No. 3 on the club’s all-time scoring list. Galindo scored his 18 in 67 games. Justin Braun scored 24 in 96 games. The leader, Ante Razov, had 30 goals in 76 games.
It was also a night when Torres became the top scorer in MLS history among players from Mexico. He passed the legendary El Tri warrior, Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
“I’m extremely happy and thrilled to have been able to score that goal,” Torres said. “I’m very happy to be able to make history in MLS. I grew up watching Cuauhtemoc play, he was one of my idols growing up. Being able to surpass him is something I cannot even imagine.”
With Landon Donovan pretty much the senior member of the U.S. Men’s National Team these days and perhaps on the brink of international retirement after the World Cup, who better to look back on his long history of World Cup participation and reminisce.
Two goals by Travis Bowen and strikes from former Cal State Dominguez Hills midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias, Bradley Diallo, Jack McBean and Aleksandar Đoković gave the LA Galaxy II an easy 6-1 U.S. Open Cup victory Wednesday over Thousand Oaks-based amateur team Cal FC at the StubHub Center track and field stadium before a crowd of just over 400. The Galaxy’s reserve squad advances to the third round of the knockout tournament May 28 in Carson against PSA Elite, which progressed when the San Diego Flash forfeited its game.
Also USL Pro side Sacramento Republic defeated the Ventura County Fusion 2-1 Wednesday and will meet Fresno Fuego in the next round.
CD Guadalajara and Cruz Azul play a preseason Liga MX game at 8 p.m. July 9 at StubHub Center, it was announced today. Tickets go on sale May 22.
The Xolos play Cruz Azul at 5 o’clock tonight (live on Fox Sports 1) up a goal from last week’s first leg with a place in the CONCACAF Champions league final against Toluca at stake.
Independent promoters of soccer games have had a spotty history at best in Southern California, but the Galaxy have joined forces with one to stage the 2014 Legends Cup featuring retired Mexican and U.S. players at 4 p.m. June 1 at StubHub Center. Participating players include Paco Palencia, Luis Hernandez, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Jorge Campos, Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda, Brian Ching, and John O’Brien.
But with all the MLS clubs eliminated from the tournament, a Liga MX team with a raft of Americans on their roster who are watched regularly by thousands of U.S.-based fans who cross the border are the closest thing we’ve got to a local club still in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Club Tijuana plays Cruz Azul at 7 o’clock tonight on Fox Sports 2, FoxSoccer2go.com and on Univision Deportes (Fox Soccer Plus shows the game on delay at 9 p.m..).
Alajuelense-Toluca is on Galavision at 5 p.m., BTW.
So it was a soft goal for Tijuana to concede and a lucky one for the Galaxy to score, but the Galaxy have a slim one-goal cushion after last week’s first leg win in Carson as American clubs look to best their Mexican counterparts this weekend in the oft-overlooked CONCACAF Champions League.
I take a look at the U.S. chances in this week’s column.