The San Jose Earthquakes have completed the signing of striker Andrés Ríos for an undisclosed fee from Argentinean champions Racing Club de Avellaneda. He is the second player to join the Quakes this summer after Mexican winger Carlos Fierro signed last months, although he has yet to make his MLS debut. Ríos’ signing was completed just days after Georgian defender Guram Kashia obtained a U.S. Green Card, which opened one more international slot in the squad.
Ríos has been somewhat a journeyman throughout his career having played for clubs all over Central and South America. That list includes the likes of Deportivo Cuenca, Club América, Leones Negros, Defensa y Justicia, Vasco da Gama, River Plate, where he actually played for Earthquakes manager Matías Almeyda, and most recently, Racing. Almeyda specifically requested the Argentine following their time together and spoke of his new signing’s strengths as well as the importance of their past connection.
“Andrés is a versatile striker with distinct attacking qualities that we were looking for. It also helps that Andrés is a player that our coaching staff is very familiar with, both to successfully integrate him into the team midseason, as well as to help him gain a full understanding of how we play”.
It will be difficult for Ríos to win much first team action right away, which fellow newcomer Fierro has learned the hard way. Club legend Chris Wondolowski is the club’s undisputed number 9 but Ríos could be a very useful super-sub, coming off the bench when the 36-year-old tires, offering a welcomed bit of energy and tenacity late in games. If he works hard, stays patient, and quickly adapts to MLS, there will be a vacant spot waiting for him once the ageless Wondolowksi inevitably retires.
Ríos however, would prefer to win that spot soon rather than later and made his goals for his new adventure clear.
“I plan to win a spot in the team. I know the team is doing well, but my first short-term goal is to win a spot in the starting XI with hard work and respect for my teammates. I can play up top; I can play on the left or right side, as a center forward or behind the center forward. I always say if the coach needs me, I will train to be prepared to add to the team and reach our objectives”.
His versatility will be an asset to Almeyda and his coaching staff but with Wondolowski’s untouchable status, ‘Vako’ in the form of his life, and Espinoza being arguably the side’s most talented player, it may not be able to win him a spot in San Jose’s attacking triumvirate. Ríos will be watching his new teammates battle against the Columbus Crew from the stands but once he gets a few training sessions under his belt, the Earthquakes will be able to unleash a deadly weapon off their bench as they continue their playoff push.