Chivas USA forward Erick "Cubo" Torres recieved his first senior cap Tuesday night as Mexico faced off against Bolivia in Denver, a game that El Tri won 1-0.
The MLS all-time leading Mexican-born scorer was announced to be a part of the two September friendly matches and handed the number 9 shirt. While he did not see time in the 0-0 draw against fellow World Cup round-of-16 members Chile on Saturday, he was on the field from the start against Bolivia.
Torres began the match partnered up top with Javier Orozco in manager Miguel Herrera's preferred 5-3-2 formation. The Mexicans saw the lion's share of possession in the first half as the Bolivian national team is currently on a 16-game winless streak and was just beaten 4-0 courtesy of Ecuador three days ago.
The 21-year-old forward was involved early on in the game with build-up play, consistently keeping possession and spreading out play to his wide teammates. It wouldn't take long for El Tri to get on the scoreboard and of course Cubo was involved.
In the 18th minute Torres picked up the ball outside of the box and played a quick 1-2 with partner Orozco. The quick passing created enough space in the box for Torres to stab a shot at Bolivian keeper Daniel Vaca. Vaca did very well to get his left foot on what seemed to be a goal-bound strike but his denying of Torres wasn't enough, as the ball ricocheted to the keeper's right and Miguel Layun was Johnny on the spot as he slotted the rebound home.
The rest of the first half saw Mexico continue to dominate play and the Chivas USA striker consistently popped up in dangerous areas. The 30th minute again saw Torres gather the ball at the penalty spot with his back to goal and cleverly manufacture himself some space with a quick turn that saw his snap shot fall just outside of the post. Again in the 35th minute Torres popped up in a dangerous position flicking a header wide of the target from a Layun cross.
The second half would see Bolivia find their footing as the match became much more open for both sides. The next significant action for Cubo would come in the 70th minute. Following a Bolivian attack where they pushed numbers forward, Mexico sprung a lightning-quick counter. The ball was sent in from the right side and Torres excellently took down the ball with a first touch that saw him spin left of the defender and create just enough space to fire off a shot. Unfortunately Vaca seemed intent on denying Cubo a debut goal as the goalie performed another fine reflex save to keep the score at 1-0.
The 82nd minute would see the CUSA man with another half chance. A 2 v 2 counter attack sprung as Cubo took the ball up the left hand side only to see his weaving run cut out at the last minute by a sliding Bolivian defender where Torres should've done better to get a shot off.
Overall it was a positive debut performance for Torres first showing with the Mexican national team. While he may look back at a few half chances that he wished he could have done more with, his impact in indirectly setting up the lone goal of the game was vital. Having played the entire 90 minutes for his country in front of 18,000 fans in a sold out Dick's Sporting Goods Park, it will likely be a night he will not forget, while gaining some invaluable experience.
Hopefully this is the first appearance of many for Cubo Torres for the Mexican national team, and if his experience with the Goats is any indicator, the goals will follow.
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