Erick Torres Signs with Atlanta United

Erick Cubo Torres is headed to The Big Peach

The 27-year-old Mexican professional footballer has signed with Atlanta United after placing Josef Martinez on the season-ending injury list.

Erick "Cubo" Torres

Martinez, the 2018 Major League Soccer MVP, tore the ACL in his right knee in Atlanta’s season-opening 2-1 win over Nashville SC on February 29. He underwent surgery on March 18.

By being placed on the season-ending injury list, Martinez won’t be able to play in any MLS competitions for the remainder of the 2020 season. Per MLS roster rules, the Martinez move allowed Atlanta to obtain roster relief in the form of an open roster spot, as well as salary budget relief up to $250,000 to sign a replacement.

Atlanta has struggled in Martinez’s absence, failing to score a single goal while losing all three games at the MLS is Back tournament. That run of results led to the team parting ways with manager Frank de Boer on July 24.

“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,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “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.”

In Martinez’s place, the Five Stripes acquired Torres, who was out of contract after spending the last two years with Liga MX side CD Tijuana. Having played previously with two other MLS teams — the now-defunct Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo — Torres is familiar with the league, and has the added benefit of holding a green card, meaning he will count as a domestic player.

“‘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. “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.”

Torres was at one point considered an up-and-coming star in Mexico, breaking in with Guadalajara as a 17-year-old in 2010. He was loaned to Chivas USA in 2013, scoring 23 goals in 51 league and cup appearances over the next two seasons.

Following Chivas USA’s folding after the 2014 season, MLS purchased Torres’ contract, making him a Designated Player. He eventually landed in Houston, though his form was uneven during his tenure there. He went 23 league and cup appearances without scoring and was twice loaned to Guadalajara and Cruz Azul during that time.

Torres bounced back in 2017, scoring 14 goals in 31 league and playoff appearances, five of which came from the penalty spot. Torres returned to Mexico in 2018 with Pumas and later Tijuana, but has struggled to find success since. Over the last two years, he has scored nine goals in 45 league and cup appearances. At the international level, Torres scored one goal in seven appearances for Mexico.

Frankie Amaya Scores First Career Goal in FC Cincinnati Win Over Atlanta United

It’s a Major League Soccer first for Frankie Amaya

The 19-year-old Mexican American soccer player scored his first career goal in the 76th minute, and FC Cincinnati took advantage of nine-man Atlanta United team to pull off a stunning 1-0 victory Thursday in the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.

Frankie Amaya

The win was the first of the season for Cincinnati (1-0-3, 3 points), and an even bigger upset within Group E at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Cincinnati lost its opener 4-0 to rival Columbus, but prevailed thanks to an undisciplined Atlanta side that finished the match with nine men.

Amaya showed his strength and accuracy with a bending strike from just outside the center of the box, beating an outstretched Brad Guzan into the far-left corner for the game’s lone goal.

For Atlanta (2-0-2, four points), the loss could be a crushing blow to its hopes of reaching the knockout round. Playing without injured star Josef Martinez (torn ACL), Atlanta opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

This marked the first time in club history that Atlanta has failed to score in back-to-back regular-season MLS contests. It obviously did not help that they played most of the match a man down.

Atlanta went down to 10 men when midfielder Jake Mulraney was sent off in the 26th minute for a pressing foul that also happened to be his second yellow card of the match. However, Atlanta’s Pity Martinez had a point-blank chance late in the first half, but Cincinnati keeper Przemyslaw Tyton was up to the task.

It appeared Martinez was set for a penalty shot in the final seconds of the first half after being fouled deep in the box. However, a VAR check ruled he was offside before the infraction.

Cincinnati eventually stepped up the pressure. When Adrien Regattin found Amaya amid some traffic, the talented youngster drilled his left-footed attempt into the goal, and enough for FCC to record its first league victory since Sept. 14.

Atlanta dropped to nine men when JJ Williams was slapped with a red card late in stoppage time.

Amaya was the first overall draft pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, and the first first-overall pick to be born in the 2000s. Amaya played one year of college soccer for UCLA and prior to UCLA, played club soccer with Pateadores SC, a premier youth club in Southern California.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez Scores for Record-Setting 11th Straight Match

Josef Martinez has kicked his way into the MLSrecord books…

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for Atlanta United FC, scored for the 11th straight match, a Major League Soccer record, and his team cruised to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at Portland’s Providence Park.

Josef Martinez

The win was Atlanta’s seventh in the past eight games across all competitions, and it vaulted them into first place in the MLS Eastern Conference. With goal differential as the tiebreaker, Atlanta United (14-9-3) took over first place from the Philadelphia Union, though both teams are on 45 points.

The Timbers (11-10-4) missed a chance to move up to fourth place in the Western Conference. The loss kept them in seventh place with the third tiebreaker advantage over FC Dallas, which is total goals scored.

Portland lost for just the second time in 10 league matches in a rematch of the two teams that played for the MLS Cuplast December, won by Atlanta. The Timbers have played three games of a 10-game homestead.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored off a rebound of a blocked shot from Martinez in the 14th minute, and Atlanta took a 1-0 lead into halftime despite numerous chances for the Timbers.

The Timbers couldn’t convert an on-target header from Jeremy Ebobisse, saved by Brad Guzan in the 42nd minute, and had an apparent goal nullified by an offside call.

Atlanta United was close to a 2-0 lead in extra time of the first half, but Steve Clark stopped Ezequiel Barco‘s breakaway shot. They took the 2-0 lead 45 seconds into the second half when Martinez chipped an open shot past Clark after a pinpoint assist from Julian Gressel.

Martinez raised his season goal total to 21.

Portland defenderJulio Cascante had a header miraculously saved by Guzan, who had five saves, in the 64th minute.

Josef Martinez Makes MLS History with His ‘Golden Trifecta’ 

Josef Martinez has etched his name into the annals of soccer history…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for the Major League Soccer club Atlanta United, has become the first player in MLS history to be named the MVP of the All-Star Game, season and MLS Cup.

Josef Martinez

Martinez capped the Golden Trifecta by being named the MVP of Saturday’s title game, a 2-0 win over Portland at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez scored the opening goal and added an assist on Franco Escobar’s capping goal.

Martinez is the third player in MLS Cup history to score a goal and add an assist in the same final. He is the second player in MLS Cup history to score a goal in the final in the same year as winning the Golden Boot.

Martinez was named the league MVP after setting an MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals during the regular season.  He added four more in the playoffs to set a league record for goals in a season.

He was named MVP of the All-Star game after scoring a goal against Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I am most happy with the (MLS) Cup,” he said. “I think this team has had an incredible year, and I think we just have to appreciate the work of everyone this season, the players and coaching staff, because even though we had some ups and downs as a team, everyone on this team contributed something and made sacrifices. This is a win that we want to celebrate because it has been a long year and thank God also.”

Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank got to lift the trophy — less than two years after his other team, the NFL‘s Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse.

Josef Martinez Leads Atlanta United FC Into the MLS Eastern Conference Final

Josef Martinez is kickin’ it into high gear…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan soccer player has helped put Atlanta United FC through to the MLSEastern Conference final.

Josef Martinez

Martinez scored twice, including on a penalty kick in the 25th minute, and host Atlanta defeated New York City FC 3-1 on Sunday to claim the home-and-home semifinal series by a 4-1 aggregate.

Atlanta held the edge in the tie after winning the first leg 1-0 last weekend at Yankee Stadium.

Martinez, who set an MLS record with 31 goals in the regular season, was awarded the penalty kick after NYCFC defender Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was called for taking down Atlanta’s Franco Escobar in the penalty area. Escobar drove the right wing to the end line and then tried to turn around, bumping into Tajouri-Shradi.

Josef Martinez

Martinez clinched the victory with a goal in the 83rd minute off a pass from Eric Remedi, who lobbed the ball over the NYCFC back line to spring Martinez. His 15-yard shot beat Johnson just inside the right post.

Atlanta will play either the New York Red Bulls or the Columbus Crew in the conference final.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez Matches Major League Soccer Record for Goals in a Season

Josef Martinez is kicking his way into the MLS record books…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan soccer star has matched the Major League Soccer record for goals in a season with nine games remaining, as he scored his 27th of the year for Atlanta United on Sunday.

Josef Martinez

Martinez is on pace to blow past the league’s previous high, which was set by Roy Lassiter in the inaugural MLS season in 1996 and matched by Chris Wondolowski in 2012 and Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2014.

Martinez received a pass in the attacking third and made a run toward goal, turning a defender before curling a shot past Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen from just inside the box to put his team ahead in the 31st minute.

The goal was his 46th in 45 career regular-season MLS games, and it broke the record he shared with David Villa for goals in a player’s first two seasons in the league.

All but one of Martinez’s goals have come from inside the 18-yard box, with his strike on Sunday from 17.8 yards the second-farthest he has scored in MLS since he signed from Torino last year.

Martinez broke the record in the 69th minute but his header went off the crossbar. Atlanta went on to win 3-1 to claim the best point total in MLS.

Martinez has scored in eight straight games, matching the second-longest streak in league history and one shy of the record Diego Valeri set with the Portland Timbers last year.

He’ll get the chance to extend his streak — and break the season goals record — on Friday at Orlando City, which has lost 13 of its last 15 games and has been outscored 43-18 in that span.