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Orange County SC sign former Mexico international Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres

Defending champs hope veteran can be USL Championship phenomenon.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Orange County SC continue to build for the upcoming 2022 season to defend their USL Championship league title, and on Thursday, they confirmed quite a smash, adding forward Erick “Cubo” Torres.

“We are beyond excited to bring Cubo, a first class professional and prolific goal scorer, to Orange County,” President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss said in a team statement. “Cubo is a true winner on and off the field and our entire club and fans will welcome him with open arms as we aim to defend our USL Championship title in 2022.”

Torres, 28, is well known to fans both in the United States and Mexico. Beginning his career at Chivas de Guadalajara, the striker first burst onto the scene as the player who looked to be the “Next Chicharito” coming out of the Chivas system, starting his pro career well as a teenager. But instability at the club led to the player falling down the pecking order, and he went on loan to Chivas USA in 2013-14. In 18 months there at the Southern California club, Cubo enjoyed the best run of his career, averaging a goal every other game and being the brightest light at the club before they folded after the 2014 season.

Torres was signed as a Designated Player by the Houston Dynamo in 2015, but he struggled in Texas, and his time there was punctuated by loan spells back at Chivas de Guadalajara and Cruz Azul. In 2018, he moved to Pumas in Liga MX, and six months later, he was transferred to Club Tijuana. In 2020, he returned to MLS midseason to play for Atlanta United, where he also played in 2021.

Torres is also a former Mexico international, having racked up seven senior caps from 2014-17 and scoring a goal at that level, following an extensive career with El Tri at underage level.

“I am very happy to arrive and play with the current USL Champions,” Torres said. “The city, the stadium, and the fan base are marvelous. I am excited for the season to start and to defend the Orange County jersey.”

Quite frankly, Cubo’s career has never fully taken off like it should have. At his best, he was playing in the basketcase combined Chivas organization, and as soon as he was able to spread his wings and fly, he started falling flat. It’s unclear what caused that turn of events, but perhaps in the USL Championship, he can really get into a rhythm and score goals on the regular again. He’s only 28, so he could potentially have a lot of soccer left in him.

So if Cubo finds a new lease on his soccer career, this could be one of the best signings in the league this year. He’s shown in his career he has the talent to be a top player, so if he finds his form again with OCSC, it could be a fantastic windfall for player and team alike.

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