Atlanta United needs goals. The hope is that Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres will provide them.
Atlanta United announced Friday morning that it signed Torres as a Season-Ending Injury Replacement Player. The move came almost immediately after the club placed injured star striker Josef Martinez on the MLS Season-Ending Injury List, and brings Torres back to the league after two seasons in Mexico’s top flight.
“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,” said Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra in a prepared statement. “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.”
The 27-year-old Torres — who was out of contract and will count as a domestic player because he has a permanent resident card — joins Atlanta United after most recently playing for Club Tijuana. He played for Pumas UNAM prior to that, and finished his time in Mexico with a combined nine goals in 45 games across all competitions.
Torres will provide Atlanta United with a starting striker option and one that is familiar with MLS after previously playing for the Houston Dynamo and now-defunct Chivas USA. In his five combined campaigns in the league, the center forward netted 36 times and delivered seven assists in 93 regular-season matches.
The announcement of Torres’ arrival came minutes after Atlanta United revealed it had placed Martinez on the Season-Ending Injury List. Martinez is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee, but is ineligible to play for the remainder of the current campaign.
“Josef’s rehab is progressing well and is going to plan. However, it was important for us to make this move as it gives us roster relief and flexibility for the rest of the 2020 season,” said Bocanegra in a separate prepared statement. “We will miss his ability and leadership on the field this season, but we look forward to having him back at the start of preseason next year.”
Atlanta United is coming off a dismal showing at the MLS is Back Tournament. The club lost all three of its matches without scoring a goal, and parted aways with head coach Frank De Boer shortly thereafter.