After not traveling with the team to El Salvador for the Round of 16 CONCACAF Champions League match against Santa Tecla FC, Seattle Sounders defender Román Torres expressed confidence in the team’s ability to right the deficit in the return leg at CenturyLink Field on Thursday (7 p.m. PT; Goal90.com, Univision; SoundersFC.com, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS).
The Sounders will try to put their own home crowd to use and give fans a show on Thursday, in a match where they should have several players available that did not make the trip to San Salvador. Torres said he has been preparing to be available as an option for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.
“The match in El Salvador was not a good game,” said Torres after Tuesday’s training. “But I think we’re improving match after match. The team had a good preseason and we’re improving little by little.”
The Panamanian star said he hopes to have the opportunity to play soon and that he’s confident the Sounders will advance to the CCL quarterfinals and can come out with a win in the 2018 MLS season home opener on Sunday, setting the tone for the new season.
“When you begin a new year, you set new goals,” explained Torres. “The objectives this year are to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League final, to have a good MLS season so we can reach MLS Cup again, and to get ready for the World Cup.”
Torres explained that one of his goals is to play consistently with the club in order to be ready for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer. Earlier this week, the defender received his U.S. green card, granting him permanent resident status in the United States, meaning he will no longer occupy an international roster slot.
The Panamanian national hero reflected on Panamá qualifying to the World Cup for the first time, and expressed confidence in his teams chances.
“I think what we achieved was historic,” said Torres. “I think we are going to have a good World Cup. We are going to enjoy playing in the World Cup for the first time. Regardless of our group, we have to be prepared physically and mentally. Today, no team can say they’re the favorite over another. I think soccer has changed a lot so we’re going to play with the belief that we can have a good World Cup.”
Torres said the Panamanian fans have rejoiced over his national team’s achievements and hopes to be able to give them more reasons to be happy. “I’d like them to trust in our national team, to trust we’re going to have a good tournament and to enjoy the World Cup,” Torres said.