Chivas USA has a tall task ahead of it on Sunday.
The Goats have been struggling of late, with Marky Delgado's second-half goal on Wednesday against Seattle breaking an extended goalless drought that was pushing historic limits.
The scary part for Chivas USA? Nearly all of those minutes were played with star striker Erick Torres in the fold. Now thanks to an international call-up with Mexico, "Cubo" is set to miss Sunday's match against the Crew.
The Goats have several likely replacements, including both former Black & Gold forward Ryan Finley and recent acquisition Felix Borja, who Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter praised at training on Friday. Still, since his 2013 MLS debut, no team is as reliant on one player to score goals as Chivas USA is with Torres:
|Club||Team Goals||Leading Scorer||Goals||% of Team Goals|
|MTL||46||Marco Di Vaio||14||30.4%|
|PHI||51||Sebastien Le Toux||11||21.6%|
The above chart displays each club's total goals and leading individual goal scorer since Cubo's MLS debut on July 17, 2013. The Chivas USA striker has 21 goals in 40 matches since coming to MLS on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara. Over that span, no other club is more reliant on one player to score its goals, and it's not even particularly close.
Cubo's importance is not just smoke and mirrors caused by percentages: only one player in all of MLS since his debut has scored more League goals: LA's Robbie Keane, with 23.
If we shrink the sample size to just this season, Torres' importance ticks upward ever so slightly. The 21-year-old has 14 of the Goats' 23 goals in 2014, or 60.9% of their total.
Replacing that chunk of the pie is not an easy thing to do, but it's what Chivas USA Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera faces on Sunday at Crew Stadium.