Atlanta United signs Erick Torres

Erick Torres, formerly of Houston.

Credit: Houston Dynamo

Credit: Houston Dynamo

Atlanta United signed striker Erick Torres on Friday in an attempt to jump-start an offense that hasn’t scored in almost 400 minutes of regulation.

Torres, 27, most recently played at Tijuana in Mexico’s first division. His contract expired at Tijuana. He scored seven goals in 37 appearances for the club.

Atlanta United was able to sign Torres because Friday it placed Josef Martinez on the season-ending injury list, which opened a roster slot. Torres will not occupy one of Atlanta United’s international slots because he has a permanent resident visa in the U.S.

Before joining Tijuana, he played for UNAM Pumas in 2018, scoring two goals in eight appearances.

Torres once was one of the better strikers in MLS. His career started at Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara in 2010 before he joined Chivas USA on loan from 2013-14, scoring 22 goals in 44 appearances. His performances in MLS were good enough to earn a call-up to the Mexican national team when it was led by Miguel Herrera in 2014.

He played for Houston from 2015-17 and his form started to dip his first two seasons, with zero goals scored in 22 appearances. But he bounced back in 2017 with 14 goals, which was a franchise record. His improved form coincided with him being reunited with coach Wilmer Cabrera, who also managed him at Chivas USA before the franchise folded.

Houston sold Torres to UNAM for a reported fee of $1.65 million.

Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra needed to find a striker because the team has lost its past four games and its offense was floundering under former manager Frank de Boer. De Boer and the club mutually agreed to part ways last week. Stephen Glass was named the interim manager Monday. The remainder of Atlanta United’s schedule hasn’t been announced by MLS, though President Darren Eales on Friday said he expects the team’s next game will be in mid-August.

“Cubo is a natural goal-scoring forward who will bolster our frontline and we’re pleased to add a player of his quality to the team,” Bocanegra said in a statement provided by the team. “He has consistently shown his finishing abilities in MLS, Liga MX and on the international stage, and we expect him to immediately contribute to the second half of our season.”

Atlanta United has had good result from recent in-season acquisitions. Justin Meram, acquired in a trade with Columbus, scored four goals and became a consistent starter for the club last season. Emerson Hyndman, acquired on loan from Bournemouth, became a consistent starter last season.

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