The mood around United States Soccer circles is pretty dire, but it’s the exact opposite in Panama, thanks in large part to our very own Roman Torres.
The Panamanian center back scored what will likely go down in history as his country’s most important goal ever, as it booked Los Canaleros a ticket to their first-ever World Cup (not to mention a great goal in its own right). It should come as little surprise that he’s being hailed as a hero.
My reporter friends in Panama like @BillyPinedaPA may be the only ones working today. "Gracias, Ramon" for the "World Cup shot" on the cover pic.twitter.com/udHnSsRcXc— Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) October 11, 2017
Social media is full of video and images of fans flocking to Torres, who was wearing some particularly appropriate Clark Kent-style glasses at the airport on Wednesday. Perhaps the most telling image came from after the game when a fan stormed the pitch in an effort to hug Torres. A security guard moved to intercept the fan, but was apparently waved off by Torres. The security guard then went in to share the hug.
¡ABRAZO DE GOL! ¿Cuántos no abrazarían así a Román Torres en este momento? ¡Nadie puede resistirse! Foto: @diaadiapa #SomosLaSele ❤ pic.twitter.com/bWdHLm2afJ— TVN Panamá (@tvnpanama) October 11, 2017
It’s been quite a ride for Torres over the past year or so, when he came back from his knee surgery after missing a year of soccer for his club and country. For a player who exudes such joy, it’s hard not to feel happy for him, even if his joy is at the cost of the USMNT.