With the recent news that Erick "Cubo" Torres will be retreating back to Guadalajara in this summer's transfer window, the Chivas USA attack has now been shaken up a bit. At the moment the current forwards on the roster include Cubo, Bofo Bautista, Matthew Fondy, Thomas McNamara, and Caleb Calvert. You could potentially throw Kris Tyrpak in the mix assuming he makes the team, along with Brian de la Fuente and Carlo Chueca, but at the moment they're looking more like midfielders.
Cubo and Bofo aside, it's a very young corp of attackers with very little experience. It's a scary thought to think that we could potentially be trying to make a playoff push with Fondy and McNamara starting in July. Don't get me wrong, Fondy and McNamara could turn out to be something special, but beyond that our depth becomes increasingly thin.
As a result, Chivas USA has recently acquired strikers Luke Moore and Leandro Barrera to bring depth to the club. I will be looking into these two players in further detail in a two-part series.
First up, Luke Moore.
Moore had been linked to the club for a good amount of time now and his arrival has come with mixed reactions. Some are quick to remember him from his time in the Premiership, give him value based on that association, and assume he's a fantastic signing for the club. Others look at his overall production, or lack thereof, and claim he's not the signing he's cracked up to be.
From a goal-scoring standpoint, Moore's most productive year was in 2006 with Aston Villa, when he netted 8 goals in 27 appearances. But ever since then he's been a bit of an enigma and had his fair share of subpar seasons. The potential that had Villa fans hopeful quickly vanished. Inconsistency, a lack of starts, lots of DNP/Coach's Decisions, Moore has been unable to get the amount of time necessary to build some momentum and get his career back on track. After his production began to dwindle in the 2 years after his 2006 breakout campaign, he was finally able to feature, and as a result produce, for West Bromwich Albion, starting 25 of his 29 appearances in 2010 (producing 4 goals,5 assists) and 23 of his 34 appearances in 2011 (7 goals, 6 assists).
|2004||Aston Villa||3||0||0 G, 0 A||--|
|2005||Aston Villa||24||4||1 G, 0 A||766|
|2006||Aston Villa||27||16||8 G, 0 A||186|
|2007||Aston Villa||13||7||4 G, 0 A||162|
|2008||Villa/WBA||28||12||2 G, 0 A||659|
|2009||West Brom||23||7||1 G, 0 A||881|
|2010||West Brom||29||25||4 G, 5 A||485|
|2011||WBA/Swansea||34||23||7 G, 6 A||293|
|2012||Swansea||24||5||5 G, 1 A||176|
|2013||Swansea||19||6||5 G, 0 A||148|
|2013||Elazigspor||17||8||0 G, 0 A||--|
When Bromwich transferred him over to Swansea City, he lost his starter's minutes, but became some sort of super-sub during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, scoring important goals in limited minutes. His goal-per-minute averages were back to respectable levels while at Swansea (176 in 2012 and 148 in 2013. For reference, new Toronto FC DP Jermain Defoe's GPM averages the past 3 years were 121, 181, and 133). Things were looking up for Luke.
Then came the Turkish disaster.
Statistically speaking, Moore was statistically nonexistent while at Elazigspor. For whatever reason, he was unable to transfer any of that Swansea City momentum into the Turkish league. Could it have been that he was asked to have more of a role on the right wing? Could it have been that the coach that signed him to the club, Trond Sollied, resigned midseason? Maybe his lack of production had to do with the fact that Elazigspor was just not a good team (they're currently a point out of relegation and are among the league's lowest scoring teams - Kinda reminds you of 2012, when the great Juan Pablo Angel led CUSA with 4 goals). Regardless of circumstance, finishing a season with no goals or assists in 17 appearances isn't something that will get you excited about the prospects of an incoming player. It was a troubling time for the 27 year old, but now he gets a chance to move forward.
He Chose Chivas USA
What's interesting is that despite the poor showing in Turkey, Moore had various offers to return to the Premiership but instead chose to sign with Chivas USA. Whether his decision was made due to the idea of living in Los Angeles (it's been said he has always embraced the idea of playing abroad) or the idea of redefining himself in a different league in a far away land remains to be seen, but the fact that there was interest from other Premiership clubs means he could very well have something left to offer. His agent, Peter Morrison, added that "given he has played over 200 league games and is still only 27, I'm not surprised."
The one stigma that has followed Moore around is that he just doesn't show much emotion. An introvert, he's not the type to wear his heart on his sleeve, bark out orders, or react intensely in certain in-game situations. As a result, it may appear he might be going through the motions, and while that may or may not be the case, you could say it may have influenced coaches when it comes to his playing time and has brought some fans to believe that he's lazy and just doesn't care. On the other hand, he is generally seen as a good guy to have in the locker room, as he works hard, never complains, and is a consummate professional.
As seen in his time in Turkey, Moore is just not meant to be a winger. Sure, he has the speed and acceleration to take advantage of players on the flank, but lacks the passing, crossing ability, and the creativity/vision that comes with technical skill to make a difference. He needs to be in or around the box in order to be effective and I'm pretty certain that's where he was signed by the club to play. That being said, there's a remote possibility Moore gets an occasional look at RM/RW but that's under the assumption that Avila ends up playing RB, the position Cabrera's been playing him in the preseason.
As a striker, Moore seems a bit direct in his style of play. If he gets the ball in front of the goal, there's a good chance he won't be dancing with it and spend time looking for a better angle. Instead, he'll be traveling the shortest distance towards goal and while you might label that as being efficient and/or aggressive, its more of a product of lacking technical skill to do any better. This aspect of his game will always be his Achilles heel and is the main reason behind his apparent inability to create his own shot and produce on a consistent level. He's best described as a poacher, finding open space near the goal and finishing opportunities created by others, so having a top-level creator by his side like Rosales could be something to watch out for.
Moore prefers to play off the striker in a withdrawn role at the top of the midfield, but that's unlikely with CUSA considering Rosales, and potentially Bofo, eating up those CAM minutes. We'll have to wait and see how Cabrera utilizes him in the preseason.
I do think the move was made for the specific reason of being ready for the roster situation that will come with the summer transfer window. With Cubo gone, the team's going to need a capable figure to replace all the production he brings. Bofo will continue being Bofo and you can't be confident that he's gonna remain healthy or interested. Moore will provide necessary depth and while his rank in the pecking order remains uncertain for the first half of the season, he should get his fair share once roster spots open up come July.
That is, unless, he fails to make a name for himself and CUSA decides to go shopping.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
This article was originally published here.