COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- It’s been nearly two months since Gabriel Torres officially signed with the Colorado Rapids, but finally, the club’s first Designated Player is on the scoreboard.
In the Rapids’ 5-1 destruction of the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night, Torres scored in the 91st minute to complete the rout, earning the Panamanian striker the first of what he hopes is a long line of goals for his new club. Seconds into second-half injury time, the 24-year-old took a pass along the right wing and dribbled inside the penalty box and, from a difficult angle, blasted a shot just inside the post.
“He was the one who needed it the most,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “He knows what he’s here for [to score goals]. He sees himself as being one of the foundations of this project, and he wants to be here. Before he [went] to the [Panamanian] national team [Sunday], he was dreaming of scoring.”
Torres arrived in early August from Venezuelan side Zamora FC, but had failed to score in his first four outings for the Rapids (two starts). After a slow start, Torres began to look more comfortable in recent weeks, but it all seemed to come together for the Gold Cup co-leading goalscorer on Saturday night.
It started early. On Deshorn Brown’s historic goal just 15 seconds into Saturday’s match, it was Torres who provided the elegant through ball to earn his first MLS assist.
“It was something we’d worked on in practice during the week, and thank God it worked,” Torres said on Saturday. “I’m happy because the goal finally came.”
Of course, the goal came just in time for Torres to head off to Panama for national team duty, where he’ll miss, at the very least, the Rapids’ key Wednesday clash with San Jose (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live).
“That last goal for him, it was a great way to wrap everything up the way he wanted,” Pareja said. “He was saying ‘I need to score on Saturday before I leave to Panama’. That’s great for him.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.