Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
The story of Chivas USA has reached its conclusion, but it appears that the tale of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres is just beginning.
The 21-year-old forward proved to be a bright spot for a club headed towards its demise, as Torres consistently proved to be among one of the most exciting players in MLS on his way to earning recognition as SBI MLS Young Player of the Year.
Having scored 15 of his side’s 29 goals on the season, Torres asserted himself as one of the league’s most prolific goal scorers, despite his age, on his way to finishing tied for seventh in the league in finishes. Highlighted by a goalscoring streak that continued for six straight games, Torres’ performances earned the 21-year-old a call up to the Mexican national team and, while his future with MLS may remain unknown for the time being, Torres has staked his claim as bonafide young player to watch.
Torres beat out a talented group of young stars for this year’s award, which honors the best player in MLS 22 or younger. Here is a look at the rest of the nominees below:
2. WIL TRAPP, Columbus Crew
For the majority of 2014, the Columbus Crew preached a vision for the future, and that vision was personified by the play of Wil Trapp.
Dubbed “The Franchise”, Trapp’s play drew the praise of even the great Thierry Henry, as the 21-year-old anchored a Crew midfield that led the team to a late-season surge to the playoffs. Already blessed with the poise and intelligence of a star beyond his years, the Crew seem to have found their midfield general for years to come.
3. JOAO PLATA, Real Salt Lake
After serving as little more than a change of pace during his first three years in the league, Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata emerged as a serious threat in 2014. Just two years after being discarded by Toronto FC, the short-statured speedster netted 13 goals to lead the way for RSL.
4. PERRY KITCHEN, D.C. United
D.C. United defensive midfielder might just be the league’s quietest budding star.
Kitchen is far from flashy in his role with D.C. United, which sees the 22-year-old used as a pivotal cog in the midfield. Heralded as one of the league’s more mature young players, Kitchen netted four goals in 2014 while also proving to be part of the defensive renaissance that carried the team to the top of the Eastern Conference.
5. DEANDRE YEDLIN, Seattle Sounders
The 2014 season saw DeAndre Yedlin go from young player to watch to true MLS star.
The 21-year-old fullback continued his development into 2014 as the Sounders earned the club’s first Supporters’ Shield.Highlighted by his performances in the 2014 World Cup, Yedlin’s play caught the eye of Tottenham, earning a move to the Premier League at a late date.
What do you think of SBI’s selection? Agree that Torres was the best young player in 2014? Which young player stood out to you in 2014?
Share your thoughts below.
Torres should have won this award last year, especially since he played all of 2013 for Chivas USA.
What’s crazy is this dude has zero chance of seeing meaningful playing time for his national team. He may get some looks for the b squad. I would kill for this guy to be in the Us pool
That’s very presumptuous and probably wrong. He’s getting a lot of playing time right now and we can expect his PT to grow into more substantial games over the next couple of years. If his form continues to improve, I expect to see him at the next WC.
he isn’t better than Vela, Dos Santos, Hernandez or Jimenez and Herrera only plays with two forwards, if any young mexican striker steps up or some guy in Liga MX turns into the new Oribe Peralta he won’t make it to Russia.
I don’t disagree he’s a step down from those guys, but he’s got time on his side. Cubo is only 21; several years younger than the current starters. Perhaps 2018 is a bit ambitious, but if he continues to improve, signs with a quality club, and keeps playing regularly, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. And by 2022 he’ll be in his prime. We can’t forget, Cubo did very well playing with the crappiest team in MLS. He needs to play with other quality strikers and under a quality coach.
I agree he is really talented, in a bigger club than CUSA he would have probably finished the top scorer in MLS or at least close, his only problem is that Mexico has a lot of depth in the strikers department, if nothing bad happens he’ll get his chance in Qatar, by then he’ll probably be playing in Europe or one of the top teams in Liga MX.
US will win a World Cup with zero good players.
You do realize that Mexico finished fourth in The Hex…we, of course, finished first.
WTF? You make no sense.
chicago fire need mr.cubic torres and some other mexican star and there out there. If they keep going like this, they will be stuck in mls 1.0 and will have to rebrand like wizards,
Personally, I hope that that Chicago Fire do not rebrand.
I like the logo. Not a circle, not a shield/crest.
Decent stadium, too. Granted, it is a bit outside of the city. But, for the game I went to, used the program that the club offers, called “Pub to Pitch.” Bus pick up/drop off from various bars around town.
Good list. 21 and 22 year olds. I look forward to the day when young player of the year will be 17-18-19.
The University of Akron under Caleb Porter was stacked. Trapp, Kitchen, Yedlin, et al……wow.