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MLS: Why the Houston Dynamo Desperately Needs Erick Torres

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2015

Jun 14, 2014; Cary, NC, USA; Chivas USA forward Erick Torres (9) reacts during overtime of the US Open Cup fourth round against the Carolina Railhawks at WakeMed Soccer Park.  The Carolina Railhawks advanced 1-1 (3-2 on penalties) Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

MLS may have one of Mexico's most talented players in Giovani dos Santos, but there's another Mexican forward who will make his league debut this month in Erick Torres.

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Torres' arrival has gone under the radar thanks to Dos Santos' move to the LA Galaxy, but the former could well be more integral to his new team. 

The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Western Conference and are six points away from a playoff spot. Houston's defending has prevented the team from moving up the standings, but its attack has also been a major problem.

Now that Torres has joined, the Dynamo have another clinical striker who will be able to finish chances. Houston has been shut out seven times in 19 games and recorded multiple goals in just six matches. The Texan side won five of those six contests.

The Dynamo has a solid option in Will Bruin, who has scored eight goals in 18 appearances. However, he has mustered just 13 shots on target, per the official MLS website.

Bruin is a solid striker, but having quality depth is important in MLS. Torres scored 15 goals in 29 games for a lackluster Chivas USA side in 2014. He also took 95 shots last season, which ranked ninth in the league that year, per the official league website.

Generating shots has been a huge issue for the Dynamo. No team has recorded fewer attempts on target than Houston's 64 this season, according to the league's official website.

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Torres will be able to spark Houston's inconsistent attack.
Torres will be able to spark Houston's inconsistent attack.Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This is where Torres can help. He's a smart and strong forward who can score in the air and with his feet. With Davis out wide and Barnes in behind, all the 22-year-old has to do is make runs and finish the chances.

The only issue for the Dynamo is Torres' fitness. He played just five games for Chivas in Mexico during his loan. Houston head coach Owen Coyle will have to manage his minutes accordingly as the Mexican eases back into a starting role.

Torres could make his debut in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, per Tom Dart of the official Dynamo website. However, the player isn't in a rush to play right away:

I did two double sessions, meaning I trained twice a day, then single sessions during the rest of the week. I feel I’m ready but it’s one thing to train and it’s another thing to come into a team and fully integrate yourself. A team has its own way of doing things, its own philosophy, so it’s going to be a matter of coming in and making sure I’m fully adjusted.

Torres also has to learn Coyle's system and develop chemistry with his new teammates. This will come with time, so if he struggles initially, the fans shouldn't fret too much.

Ironically, Torres could get his first start against Dos Santos and the Galaxy. The former Chivas forward was reportedly interested in playing for LA before he signed with Houston, so he'll have extra motivation in this match.

Houston might be out of the playoffs right now, but if Torres can replicate his 2014 form with Chivas USA, the Dynamo could squeak into the postseason.

If Torres starts regularly and scores with consistency, it could lead to a return to the Mexico national team, where he'd link up with Dos Santos.

Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.

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