Rapids' Gabriel Torres on Panama callup: "We can take a giant step towards qualifying for the World Cup"
In July, Gabriel Torres and the Panamanian National Team made sure CONCACAF took note of their progress as a soccer nation when they reached Gold Cup Final against the United States.
Despite the 1-0 loss to the U.S., the tournament showed the rest of the region that Panama should be considered a serious contender to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
On Wednesday the Federación Panameña de Fútbol announced that new Rapids forward, Torres, will re-join the national team for two crucial World Cup Qualifiers next month, facing Jamaica at home on September 6 and visiting Honduras on September 10.
"We've named the month of September as one of the most important for our national team," Torres told ColoradoRapids.com on Thursday. "We can take a giant step towards qualifying for the World Cup. We expect that those of us that are going will contribute and that we can get the points necessary in order to be closer to the World Cup."
The top three teams in the six-team CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group will automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with the fourth place team playing a two-game series against New Zealand for a spot in the tournament.
The U.S. is in first place with 13 points followed by Costa Rica with 11 points. Panama is currently in fifth place with six points, one behind Honduras and two points behind Mexico with four games to play in the Hexagonal. (STANDINGS)
Torres is coming off a breakout Gold Cup where he finished in a three-way tie as the tournament's top goal-scorer with five goals along with U.S. players Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski.
"The Gold Cup helped us gain confidence and now we're going after the dream that all of us have - to go to the World Cup," Torres said. "I'll go with the same enthusiasm and motivation to give my best for my country."
Panama faces Jamaica on September 6 at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, and Honduras on September 10 at Estadio Olimpico Metropoitano in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
"These are two complicated games in September that we have to confront with the utmost seriousness to be able to get the points that can get us closer to the World Cup," Torres added.
The 24-year-old made his Rapids debut on August 17 in a 2-0 win over Vancouver. He'll join the Panama team following Colorado's match at Sporting KC on August 31. He will miss the Rapids match in LA against the Galaxy on September 7 but is expected back for the Rapids' home match against FC Dallas on Sept. 14.