Chivas USA has extended the loan deal of leading scorer Erick Torres through the end of the season, the club said in a release on Tuesday.
Torres, 21, joined the club from Chivas Guadalajara last July and settled into MLS quickly. The former Mexico youth international scored seven goals in 15 appearances last season to provide a rare bright spot in the otherwise lost campaign for the Red-and-White. He has followed up those exploits by registering nine goals (third in MLS) in 14 matches so far this year.
Chivas USA president Nelson Rodriguez revealed in March that the club held an option to extend Torres’ loan deal from its expected conclusion at the end of June through the end of the season. Torres’ continued performance on the field made the decision to retain his services relatively straightforward.
By keeping Torres for the remainder of the campaign, Chivas USA maintained its primary threat in the final third (he has scored 64 percent of the team’s 14 goals this season) and reduced the need to make a significant acquisition during the summer. The latter point is particularly important given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the club. MLS currently operates Chivas USA after purchasing it from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes earlier this year, but the league hopes to sell the club to a new investor/operator in time for next season.
The more difficult question to answer at this point: should MLS – if it is still in control of the club at that stage – opt to exercise the option to acquire Torres’ services permanently from Chivas?
Rodriguez also confirmed the existence of a clause in Torres’ loan deal to establish a price to acquire Torres on a full transfer from the Liga MX side earlier this year. The exact details of the agreement remain unknown at this point, but the presence of a set figure at least affords Chivas USA with the opportunity to guarantee the services of one of the league’s most promising young players for the foreseeable future.
If Chivas Guadalajara inserted a reasonable fee into Torres’ contract, then MLS should consider exercising the contractual clause regardless of the circumstances. MLS would then possess a plethora of options – including keeping Torres in the league long term (if he agrees) with the rebranded team (or another club) or selling him to a Mexican side or some other suitor at a profit – to make the best possible use of the value generated by his stay in the United States. It might take some convincing to entice Torres – a Guadalajara native who has expressed a desire to return home in the past – to remain in MLS over the long haul, though.
Those considerations are a bit further down the line for Chivas USA, MLS and Torres himself. For now, Torres’ continued presence in southern California offers a positive step for a club in need of good news as it lurches through this interim year and waits to learn its new direction.