Torres hopes to help Atlanta United by scoring goals

Atlanta United forward Erick Torres dribbles the ball during team training at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Georgia, on Wednesday August 12, 2020. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Erick Torres hasn’t been in Atlanta long but he’s already met six supporters, some of whom have reminded him that the MLS team hasn’t scored a goal in 395 minutes.

“Hopefully, I can help break that streak when we get back,” he said. “It motivates me a lot.”

Atlanta United (2-3-0) will resume its season on Aug. 22 when it hosts Nashville. That could be Torres’ debut. Though just 27 years old, it will be the third MLS team that he has played for.

Torres was signed by Atlanta United as an injury replacement for Josef Martinez, who is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. The team has floundered without Martinez, losing all three of its games in the tournament in Orlando by 1-0 scores after being shutout by Club America 3-0 in the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal.

Its soccer has been boring and disjointed, which likely resulted in the club and manager Frank de Boer to part ways almost three weeks ago, with Stephen Glass named as interim a few days later.

Torres participated in his second training session under Glass and with Atlanta United on Wednesday. It included a scrimmage. Torres said looking at the talent and quality of players around him, he is surprised that the team’s offense has struggled.

“I’m excited because I think these guys are talented,” he said. “As a forward, exciting to play with guys who are looking to play a forward in on goal. I think there will be a lot of goals and goal-scoring opportunities.”

Because Glass has yet to manage Atlanta United in a game it’s not yet clear what formation he prefers. Torres said he can play either as a single striker or as one of two. He said he feels he likely plays best as one of two but try to do his best whatever the manager asks.

The big question for Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra, whom Torres credited with signing him, is which Torres will Atlanta United get? The one who was very good in MLS with 36 goals in 93 appearances with Chivas USA and Houston across five years, or the one who struggled in Mexico the past three years with four goals in 33 appearances in league games with Cruz Azul, UNAM and Tijuana?

Torres theorized his lack of time in Mexico could have been the result of everything from managerial choices, to quality foreign players, to a simple lack of patience.

He’s hoping for consistent minutes with Atlanta United and thinks the results will come.

“When any player is getting minutes regularly they are in better form, finding spaces on the field and communicating with teammates,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking for here in Atlanta, which is do what I love and do best is score goals and help teams.”

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