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Raves: Roger Torres

Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks, PSP contributors will be posting what we’re calling “Raves” about our favorite Philadelphia players. They need not be the team’s best players, but they’re guys we like. You hear plenty of rants when the Union losing. Here are the raves, continuing with Brion’s rave about Union midfielder Roger Torres.

The Chant

There’s good reason why his name is one of the most beloved by the mad denizens at river’s end. He plays with unbridled energy, and from the go, his performances spoke of the potential he has for the blue and gold, as he registered brilliant assists in back-to-back games in early April. Those plays — a deft cross from the sideline that Le Toux headed home against D.C. and a chip ahead to Harvey against Toronto (replicated October 2 against Houston when he dropped a ball on Le Toux’s foot) — spoke to the dangerous dynamic he gives us on the wing, with service coming from the outside or on decisive charges toward center. Though Torres has mostly featured on the right, he’s shown us that he can be just as effective coming down the left flank. While he’s worked well with the Mwanga and Le Toux pairing at times, it seems he’s more effective with Moreno and Le Toux, since the former is more prone to moving out to the sideline and giving Torres options.

Roger Torres in the air. (Photo by Nicolae Stoian.)

Dynamic on the ball

Cutting through traffic, he’s aided not only by quick acceleration but also a shiftiness that seems borne of a low center of gravity. He has troubled keepers with his free kicks and has helped maintain many an attack by dispossessing the opposition as they attempted to move the ball out of their end. This latter trait, matched to great effect by the likes of Jacobson and later Mapp from the opposite flank, was one of the Union’s strength’s that will surely help us going forward.

Playing Catch-Up

But Torres’s industry has also worked against him, preventing him at times from seeking out a teammate rather than continuing to steam ahead with the ball and make that extra cut inside. This problem only became exacerbated after his absence midsummer following an ankle injury against Celtic. Upon his return in early August, he was set in a pattern of coming on either soon after the half or late in the match, as opposed to playing the first 45-70 minutes (the Union is tight lipped about whether or not the terms of his loan deal factored into his minutes, but it’s glaring that such a player has never managed a full 90). The recent match against L.A. unfortunately underscores what became of his season; coming on in the 82nd minute, he tore down the left flank to cut in across the top of the box, the ball glued to his feet as he shifted around defenders until his speed and skill was thwarted by his ambition, the third defender he tried to beat.

The Upside

When Torres does lose the ball, however, he’s always supercharged to win it back, displaying an attitude that should allow Peter Nowak to mold him into a complete player who can fully realize his tremendous talents. Just as the organization and coaching staff have to show their confidence by buying him from América de Cali of Colombia and giving him major minutes from the start next season, Torres also has to add a bit of calmness to his game. But then again, if he makes a spot in the first XI his, then maybe he won’t feel as if he has to overachieve every time he gets on the field.

(Cover photo by Paul Rudderow)

3 Comments

  1. Unfortunately I see him as the most likely canidate that we lose in expansion draft unless his limited minutes were because of the loan deal. He just seems to be the odd man out despite the fact that in my mind he is the most technically talented player on the team. I hope more then anyone that I am wrong and he is kept on.

    • The only way Torres gets left unprotected is if there’s some behind the scenes deal that ensures he doesn’t get drafted or if it’s part of the loan deal. There is no way they let this guy go, unless they’re crazy — which they’re not.

      • Yeah, it would be incredibly stupid. I wish that they would release some more details about the loan deal to shed light on if that is really why he was not playing or if there is some other reason. I know it has historically been MLS policy, but has it even been confirmed whether or not there is a purchase option in his loan deal and if the U boys can afford it? I really think the Union need to make some moves with Vancouver by maybe dealing Arrieta and someone else to Vancouver for top spot in allocation money, which they hold, or avoiding expansion draft and some draft picks/money.

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