Rapids coach Oscar Pareja expects Gabriel Torres-Vicente Sanchez pairing to flourish
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — If you saw Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez postgame on Saturday night, you would’ve thought the two had been playing together for years.
While Sanchez was answering reporters’ questions after the Colorado Rapids’ 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, the 24-year-old Torres was sitting in his locker – right next to Sanchez’s – busily poking fun at the 33-year-old Uruguayan veteran.
The two newcomers started up top together for the first time against Vancouver, with Sanchez providing the assist on the Rapids’ opening goal as the duo showed flashes of a promising partnership in their highly anticipated debuts.
"I think (Torres) linked well, and not just with Vicente but with the other players," Rapids coach Oscar Pareja said afterwards. "With Dillon [Powers], even with Deshorn [Brown]. I thought the connection with Deshorn was really good and it’s encouraging. We’re very optimistic with that situation. To see two guys who came in here today and they showed that the game is about good soccer players. Sometimes the language or the timing is not a big factor, it’s about having good players on the field
Torres, making his Rapids debut after becoming the club’s first Designated Player in franchise history last week, wasn’t particularly crisp while logging 78 minutes and missing two clear chances, one in either half. But in finding space for himself and timing his runs to create his opportunities, Torres flashed the potential that made the Rapids splurge for the CONCACAF Gold Cup’s co-leading goalscorer.
“I am happy because the team won,” Torres told MLSsoccer.com postgame. “After a few games, I’ll start to feel a little better within the group.”
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Torres and Sanchez have been training together for barely a week, but with the Rapids afforded a two-week break before their next game August 31 against Sporting Kansas City, the duo will work on their chemistry before Colorado’s critical final eight games of the season.
“We’re going to have more time to work together as a team,” Sanchez said. “There’s two weeks without a game, and that’s good. They’re two weeks to work more, work with my teammates, and I’m happy.”
“I was concerned naturally today with how that partnership could develop,” Pareja said. “But I think that understanding showed in periods of the game, which is good. It cannot be anything but better surely in the upcoming days.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.