TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres will likely not travel with the team to Orlando this weekend, but the team is slowly preparing for the Panamanian international’s imminent return and how it will transform the lineup.
Torres worked out in full on Monday for the first time since tearing his ACL nearly a year ago, but interim head coach Brian Schmetzer said this week it’s unlikely he’ll use Torres against Orlando City SC on Sunday (4 p.m. PT; FS1/KIRO 97.3 FM/El Rey 1360AM).
A more likely scenario is for Torres to play some part in either the team’s Aug. 14 match against Real Salt Lake or on Aug. 21 against the Portland Timbers, with both games played at CenturyLink Field.
When Torres does return he’ll likely force a decision on what to do with defender and captain Brad Evans, who slid from his longtime spot in the midfield to center back at the start of the 2015 season. Torres’ midseason arrival last year forced Evans off the back line, and Schmetzer said Thursday he’s already begun conversations with Evans about what the future holds.
“Right now, Brad is playing center back,” Schmetzer said. “And if I decide to make changes, then I will let him know first.”
Evans conceded he’ll likely have to give way to Torres when he returns, but he also stressed his versatility to play on the back line or in the midfield gives him confidence despite the changes ahead.
“I’m a guy who can play multiple positions and he’s a guy who can play one position,” Evans said. “I think I understand the situation at hand. Nothing will ever change my mindset going into a training session or a game. I think I’ve adapted to multiple positions fairly well. When he’s ready to go, I imagine he’ll step at center back and I’ll ultimately have to find another position on the field.”
“And that’s fine. It’s business. It’s soccer.”
Torres appeared in just four games at center back with Chad Marshall last year before suffering the knee injury that ended his debut MLS season and shelved him for much of 2016.
Evans has battled injuries of his own this season – most notably, a separated shoulder in the season opener and a calf strain in July – but has appeared in 16 games this season, all starts at center back.