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No Torres for Sunday’s match, but his return seems imminent

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Head coach Brian Schmetzer praised Torres’ leadership and physical presence

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Despite returning to full training with the Seattle Sounders, center back Roman Torres has yet to make a first team appearance in 2016. No setbacks have been reported regarding the player’s fitness as he continues to train fully with his teammates, but as of Saturday the club had not announced that Torres would be taken off the disabled list ahead of Sunday’s match against Portland.

Head coach Brian Schmetzer said that Torres has impressed him in training so far: “He played well in the little 60 minute scrimmage the other day, he played well today, he wasn’t stiff or sore.” Even though it’s looking unlikely that Torres will be ready for the weekend, Schmetzer insisted that “all things are proceeding as planned.”

This is why Hugo Garcia is running Sounder at Heart today

It could create a potential lineup conundrum for Schmetzer, but the eventual return of Torres can only help shore up Seattle’s back line. Schmetzer said that Torres “brings a lot of qualities to the team” and mentioned how impressive of an athlete the player is. “He could do a lot of sports, but he chose to be a soccer player and he’s a very good one.”

Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei has also been impressed with Torres in the last couple weeks. “He’s hard to miss out there. He’s a big guy, a big presence.” Frei urges fans to be patient with Torres, especially considering how long it’s been since he played a competitive match. “To get his confidence back and his trust in his own body is going to take a couple of awkward stumbles or steps to reassure yourself that everything is fine.”

Having seen Torres train recently, I can say with some confidence that Schmetzer and Frei aren’t exaggerating. Torres looks as good as he did in the little playing time he had last season before his injury, if not better. His aerial prowess is dominant, and he has some of the best technique with the ball at his feet that I’ve ever seen in an MLS defender. His presence could lift the team defensively in a similar way that Nicolas Lodeiro has lifted the Sounders’ attack, something that could provide a huge boost as the team pushes for the MLS Cup playoffs.

This post is brought to you by Hugo Garcia (@MiVidaSeattle) who won an auction to run Sounder at Heart for a day.