After captaining Panama in the World Cup, Seattle Sounders defender Román Torres is eager to contribute to club

Román Torres Training July 2018

TUKWILA, Wash. – Fresh off the journey of a lifetime, Román Torres is back with the Seattle Sounders.

The center back has been away from the team for much of the summer, captaining Panama at the country’s first-ever World Cup. Torres, a longtime staple of Panama’s international roster with over 100 career caps, played in all of the group stage matches before exiting the third in the second half with an ankle injury.

Although the Panamanians were eliminated from a tough group G that included powerhouses like Belgium and England, Torres said the mere experience of playing on the world’s biggest stage was one that transcended the results.

“It was an incredible experience,” Torres told reporters back in Seattle on Wednesday. “You get to learn a lot of things when you’re playing at the highest level of football in the world. It was just a really beautiful experience for myself and for the national team, and we’re happy we were able to be there.”

“To listen to your country’s national anthem playing on the biggest stage in the world, it was just an incredible feeling,” he added. "It’s something we’ve never felt before.”

It was Torres who clinched Panama’s berth in the tournament in the first place with a dramatic goal against Costa Rica in the last game of qualifying – making him the face of the most iconic footballing moment in the history of the country to date.

There were some questions as to whether the 32-year-old was going to be ready for group play after he suffered a hamstring injury with the Sounders, but ultimately, there was little chance Torres was going to be on the sidelines given all he had put into the qualifying cycle.

“I trusted my doctor and I knew he was going to get my to a good place,” Torres said. “He treated me well and I felt good going into the first game of the World Cup."

As for his current ankle injury that he suffered in Panama’s last game against Tunisia, Torres said he’s feeling better “little by little.” Kim Kee-hee has been deputizing admirably beside Chad Marshall with Torres gone, so it will be interesting to see how Head Coach Brian Schmetzer decides to dole out the minutes when everyone is healthy.

After captaining Panama in the World Cup, Seattle Sounders defender Román Torres is eager to contribute to club -

Torres training at Starfire Sports Complex | Mike Fiechtner

“I’m training harder, it’s recovering well,” Torres said. “I’m thinking in the next week or so I’ll feel much better and hopefully I’ll have the confidence of the coaching staff. You never want to miss a World Cup match. You always want to give it your all for your country. I wanted to keep on playing, but I was feeling a lot of pain in my ankle, so I opted for subbing out and giving another teammate the opportunity to play.

“The next step is to recover and prepare myself to be available for our coach and help the team earn more points and to get in a position where we can reach the playoffs.”



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