Jairo Torres will play his final match for Liga MX side Atlas FC this Saturday against Tigres, then it’s off to Chicago where he’s expected to hit the ground running. The Fire will formally introduce Torres in a news conference early next week, and head coach Ezra Hendrickson said Torres could play as soon as May 7 against Atlanta United.
“Hopefully ASAP,” Hendrickson said when asked about when Torres would be ready to contribute. “But there’s some things that have to go right for us, ITC (International Transfer Certificate) clearance and all that, but he’s someone that we’ve been expecting for awhile now. The time is here, and hopefully we can get him on the pitch in time for Atlanta next weekend, because he’s the type of player that can help some of those offensive woes that we’re having.”
More help on the way?
The Fire’s attack has been woeful. They’ve gone four MLS matches in a row without scoring, with the Fire’s last league goal coming March 19 in the 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
Since then it’s been a 0-0 draw with FC Dallas, a 1-0 loss to Orlando City, a 0-0 draw with the LA Galaxy, and a 3-0 loss to Minnesota United in league play. The team has lacked both creativity and finishing in the final third, something Torres can hopefully help improve. But, Hendrickson admitted the Fire are trying to more signings done before the May 4 transfer deadline.
“We’re trying to get a couple of situations across the timeline, but it’s such a crunch moment I’m not sure if we’re gonna be able to or not,” Hendrickson said. “We’re definitely trying to get a couple of pieces to fill out the roster.”
Hendrickson specifically mentioned adding pace on the wings as a huge area of need.
“We need to be able to get behind defenses off the ball, stretch defenses, and that would help give Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) and Gastón (Giménez), and Jairo when he comes more spaces to work underneath,” Hendrickson said. “As is, teams’ back four know the player to keep in front of them, and it’s easy to shut at team down when there’s no real threat to get behind them.”
Bet the Under?
The Fire might eventually have a breakout game and score a bunch of goals, but this weekend’s matchup with the New York Red Bulls likely won’t be the game. RBNY have won four straight on the road to start this season, and the Fire and RBNY are 1st and 2nd in the league for the fewest shots on target faced, with 20 and 21 respectively. The Fire have only allowed one goal at Soldier Field this season.
All signs point to a 0-0 or 1-0 game. But this is MLS, so maybe it’ll be 5-4. Stranger things have happened.