Who is Roberto Chen?

The Sounders have supposedly been watching Chen (left) since they played in 2011. - Photo courtesy of

Roberto Chen, a 19 year old center back from Panama's San Francisco FC is currently on a 10 day trial with the Sounders. His is supposed to be here until next Wednesday. It appears that the Sounders coaching staff has been impressed with him in training. It also appears as if the Sounders have been tracking Chen's development since facing him in the qualifying round of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. Here's another link that suggests that we've been following him for the past two years.

Chen suffered a serious knee injury in the fall of 2011, requiring surgery and causing him to miss 6 months. It was closer to a year until he was able to effectively play competitive football, when he joined Panama's U20 squad last October.

Here are some of his notable accomplishments:

Panama U17 National Team:

  • Captained Panama and started at CB in the 2011 CONCACAF qualifying, Championships and FIFA U17 World Cup
  • Played every minute in both tournaments
  • Led a defense that allowed 3 goals in 7 matches in CONCACAF qualifying and Championships, good enough for the best goals conceded rate in the tournament
  • Panama was the only team that the United States (tournament champions) failed to score multiple goals against in the 2011 tournament
  • Panama finished the CONCACAF Championships in third place, qualifying for the U17 World Cup
  • Panama advanced to the knockouts from a group that included Germany (third place finish in the tournament), Ecuador and Burkina Faso before being eliminated in the round of 16 by tournament hosts Mexico, who went on to win the tournament
  • In total, the Chen-led defense allowed a combined 9 goals in 11 matches in CONCACAF and FIFA competitions
  • Only Mexico, Germany and Ecuador scored more than one goal against Panama. Ecuador only did so after one of Panama's most dangerous attackers was sent off.

Panama U20 National Team:

  • Started on a defense that shut out both Jamaica and Puerto Rico, en route to winning the group
  • Scored a goal in the 84th minute against Puerto Rico, giving Panama a 2-0 lead and preserving the 3 points
  • Tallied an assist in the 57th minute against Jamaica, which also gave Panama a 2-0 lead
  • Panama was eliminated in the quarterfinals by El Salvador, who wound up finishing the tournament in third place

Panama Senior National Team:

  • Debuted with the senior national team at the age of 17 in a friendly against Paraguay
  • Was substituted in early in the second half
  • Panama did not allow a goal after Chen entered the match
  • Called up for World Cup Qualifying matches against Mexico, United States and Costa Rica
  • Was on the bench for Panama when they played the US in Seattle on June 11
  • Has been named to Panama's 2013 Gold Cup roster

CONCACAF Champions League:

  • Started for San Francisco FC in both legs of the qualifying round against the Sounders in 2011
  • Played as a left back in the first leg, as SFFC shut out the Sounders at home
  • Played as a left midfielder in the second leg, when the Sounders advanced after extra time
  • Prior to the first leg, the Sounders were on a 11 game unbeaten run in all competitions, scoring 9 goals in their last 3 matches
  • Prior to the first leg, SFFC had only ever won one match (out of 8 matches played) in CCL, which came against a team from Trinidad & Tobago

Liga Panameña de Futbol

  • Appeared in 13 games, starting in 10 of them
  • Was only substituted off in one of his 10 starts
  • Played in 949 minutes in 2012-13
  • Scored 1 goal
  • Helped San Francisco advance to the Clausura Final, where he came on as a second half substitute in a losing effort

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