Erick Torres excited for another opportunity with Atlanta United

110120 Atlanta: Atlanta United forward Erick Torres is all smiles with a face full of net after just missing a shot-on-goal against Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Atlanta United beat Cincinnati, 2-0. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
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110120 Atlanta: Atlanta United forward Erick Torres is all smiles with a face full of net after just missing a shot-on-goal against Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Atlanta United beat Cincinnati, 2-0. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Erick Torres may have the task of trying to replace Josef Martinez for Atlanta United’s next few games, starting Sunday with Philadelphia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

That’s something Torres tried to do last season when Martinez was out for the season following surgery on his right knee. It didn’t go well. Though Torres frequently put himself into good positions, he scored one goal in 13 appearances and had an expected goal metric of 0.47 per 90 minutes, which is respectable.

This season, Martinez is out for only a few games while he’s with Venezuela competing in the Copa America. Torres, just like last year, said Friday that he is ready to try to help the team in any way. But it seems like he would really like to score in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, whose atmosphere he said reminds him of Chivas’ home during a rivalry match.

“I’m very excited to score a goal, especially with Atlanta United,” he said. “I don’t have all the words to express how excited I feel. I’ll have to prove it with my performance.”

Torres, who has yet to score this season, said he’s already visualizing the moment when he scores and celebrates with his teammates. It sounds as if he and Jurgen Damm are planning to do the Robot. It may not be as imaginative as the “fusion pose” celebration that Martinez and Miguel Almiron used to do, but Atlanta United supporters probably will be OK with it because a goal is a goal, and Atlanta United is having trouble scoring this season.

Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron (left) celebrates his goal against Columbus Crew with Josef Martinez for a 3-1 victory during the second half in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, August 19, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
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Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron (left) celebrates his goal against Columbus Crew with Josef Martinez for a 3-1 victory during the second half in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, August 19, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta United has scored nine goals in seven games. It’s expected goals per game is 1.16, among the bottom 25 percent of MLS teams.

The team needs someone to step up and put the ball in the net, especially in the absences of Martinez and midfielder Emerson Hyndman, who is out for the season because of a torn ACL in his right knee. That injury happened during the past three weeks. Hyndman has one goal in seven starts. Martinez has two goals. Other strikers who could play in place of Martinez are Jackson Conway, a Homegrown who has yet to play this season, and Erik Lopez, who has been used mostly as a winger.

“These other players have a great opportunity, and I have no doubt that they will do very well,” manager Gabriel Heinze said Friday.

Torres said his responsibilities, should he start, will be similar to that of Martinez when he plays. Heinze has used Martinez not only as a striker, but also as someone who comes back into the midfield to provide a passing outlet. Sometimes, other teammates try to run into the spaces that are created when defenders follow Martinez as he works back to the ball.

That Torres has yet to score more than one goal for Atlanta United doesn’t mean he can’t. In his career, the 28-year-old usually has shown that he can score in bunches. In 109 appearances, he has scored at least two goals four times and three goals once. He has scored 37 goals in MLS.

“I’m very excited, but I know I have to be patient,” he said.

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 vs. Philadelphia, 2 p.m., ESPN

June 23 at NYCFC (at Red Bull Arena), TBD, BSSO/BSSE

June 27 vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at Chicago, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE