Early on in training sessions under interim head coach Stephen Glass, one difference Atlanta United midfielder Emerson Hyndman has noticed compared to those under previous manager Frank de Boer is that he is finding himself on the ball in more advanced positions.
Perhaps some of that owes to Erick "Cubo" Torres.
With Josef Martinez placed on the season-ending injury list after sustaining a torn ACL sustained back in Atlanta's Week 1 win over Nashville SC, Atlanta secured a replacement with similar a skill set when they acquired Torres on a free transfer after his contract at Club Tijuana expired.
He joins former UANL Tigres winger Jurgen Damm, also brought in on a free, as summer imports secured to help the club to its own lofty standards of consistent winning and attacking play.
"He has a reputation obviously of being a goal scorer, so that’s always good," Hyndman said of Torres during a conference call on Wednesday. "And I think he brings people into the game really well. He’s good at holding up the ball, he’s really clever with his touch, and for a midfielder like me just trying to run in behind him and get on balls like that, it’s nice to play with him. He’s good at linking up play, and obviously he likes getting into the box as well. It’s going to be really important for us."
Torres and Damm could both make their MLS debuts when Atlanta resumes its regular season at home against Nashville on Saturday night (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada).
Glass said on Thursday that both players would be available for selection, but that the duo might be a bit behind the rest of the squad in terms of match fitness.
While Torres has a previous MLS track record, with double digit seasons both at Houston and Chivas USA on his CV, Damm is mostly known north of the border for his Concacaf Champions League exploits with Tigres.
Atlanta defender Fernando Meza expects both to give the club a boost, even though he couldn't remember playing directly against Damm while with Liga MX's Necaxa.
"He’s very fast," Meza said of Damm. "He’s very good at getting down on the wing. He’s someone that can bring fresh legs to our team, and he’s going to add a new weapon that maybe we didn’t have before, so we’re happy to have him with us."
As for Torres?
"He’s a forward that’s more in that style of forward like Josef was," Meza said. "And we’ve missed his absence obviously in the tournament in Orlando. So we’re hoping with both players’ arrivals they can add some new weapons to our attack and like always, we’re happy to have them and welcome them on board."