YEKINDAR Joins Team Liquid As Stand-In

YEKINDAR Joins Team Liquid As Stand-In

Team Liquid announced on Tuesday, June 21, the addition of Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster. As revealed, the Latvian CS:GO pro will stand-in for the team at IEM Cologne, replacing the recently departed Richard “shox” Papillon.

Liquid Continue With A Stand-In

Team Liquid have undergone major team changes earlier this month, with the North American esports organization parting ways with shox and head coach Eric “adreN” Hoag. The roster changes, while drastic, were expected due to the team’s lack of success throughout the season.

Still, despite cutting ties with two key members of the team, Liquid did not need long to find replacements. Shortly after parting ways with adreN, Liquid announced the addition of Damian “⁠daps⁠” Steele as the new head coach.

And now, just one day later, Liquid also found a replacement for the French rifler in YEKINDAR. The 22-year-old Latvian CS:GO star will join the team as a stand-in and only a temporary solution.

Still, Liquid will likely take this opportunity to trial YEKINDAR and try to figure out whether he is the right fit for the team, which could lead to a permanent contract. And that would make a lot of sense for both parties.

A Solution For Liquid’s Woes

With the departure of shox earlier this week, it was initially believed that Liquid would have to play with head coach daps as a stand-in. But luckily, the North American esports organization found an alternative solution with YEKINDAR.

The 22-year-old is currently still under contract with Outsiders, but he has not been an active team member since he moved to the bench on March 23. The Russian squad roster change followed the team’s performance at PGL Major Antwerp, where they placed 12th-14th.

But despite Outsider’s relatively poor finish in the tournament, YEKINDAR stood out with his individual performances. Still, he has found himself in a rough spot as a European player who was playing for a Russian organization.

Since YEKINDAR was moved to the bench, the 22-year-old has yet to find a new team; however, it seems like he is now closer to signing a contract with Liquid than ever. And while the signing has yet to be official, it does seem like it will happen.

Much of that will come down to how well YEKINDAR will perform as a stand-in at the upcoming IEM Cologne. It will also mark his first Big Event in an English-speaking team since he started his professional career.

Throughout his CS:GO career, YEKINDAR has played only for smaller teams from his home country of Latvia and spent the last few years in Russian-speaking teams.

Liquid Are Ready For IEM Cologne

With the addition of YEKINDAR, Team Liquid now have a complete squad for the final CS:GO tournament before the player’s break.

For Team Liquid, IEM Cologne will present a chance to win the organization’s first tournament since cs_summit 8 in May 2021. Liquid have since not come close to adding another trophy to their cabinet and were particularly disappointing this season.

In 2022, Liquid’s have not placed better than fifth in a single event, including a fifth-place finish at PGL Major Antwerp 2022: American RMR and top-eight at Intel Extreme Masters XVII – Dallas. Elsewhere, they’ve been far less successful, namely at the Major, where Liquid placed 15th-16th, BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022 (10th-12th) and Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Katowice (13th-16th).

As a result of their shaky results, Liquid have dropped down the global CS:GO standings and are currently ranked 14th, the lowest they’ve been since August 2021. Still, Liquid could break into the top-10 with a strong performance in Cologne, where they’ll face off against some of the world’s best teams.

IEM Cologne starts on July 5, featuring 24 teams and a $1,000,000 prize pool. Liquid have received a direct invite for the tournament as the second-highest rated North American team, behind FURIA Esports.