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Roman Torres sees USL debut as step toward regaining a starting role

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The Panamanian led Tacoma’s back line in a 2-1 victory over an undefeated Sacramento Republic side.

Charis Wilson / Tacoma Defiance

TACOMA, Wash. — With 10 first team players in the starting lineup, Chris Little’s team claimed their second win of the season at Cheney Stadium on Monday night. The presence of the players loaned was not only key for a Tacoma team that needed three points prior to five-game stretch on the road, it was also important for those first team players struggling to get on the field with the first team.

Henry Wingo scored early in the second half, Will Bruin put away the second goal for Defiance along with an assist and Nouhou got significant playing time, but the player who may have benefited the most out of this game was potentially Roman Torres. After his strong performance, there was a certain level of confidence radiating from the center back as he spoke to media members, despite the game being at the USL level.

“I take it like professional,” the former Panama national team captain said. “I’m going through a moment where I haven’t gotten the opportunity to add minutes with the first team and I think this will help me a lot so when I do get a chance, I can take full advantage of it. I work harder every day to get that opportunity, I hope to get it soon.”

The Canalero has only seen 23 minutes in the initial four games, although he is hoping that will change in the near future.

“That’s what the team is for,” he said. “That is what I’m working for, to win back once again starting on the first team and I think being part of these games will help me a lot.”

Torres is part of a very short list of World Cup players who have played in USL. Didier Drogba and Joe Cole are two recent players to have done it. Tacoma Defiance head coach Chris Little described having Roman in the team as a “privilege”, and praised the centerback’s ability to lead by example and overall play. Little said the group responded well to Torres, who was very vocal throughout.

“This was really an important game because even though I’ve been working out well, physically I’ve felt good, it’s not the same to train than to play an actual game,” Torres said. “Individually I felt good out there, passing out of the back, in the air game, wining duels and from a leadership role.”

“El Mazinger” will more than likely get a start in the upcoming week, as the Sounders prepare to play three games in eight days and rest for Chad Marshall or Kim Kee-hee is almost a guarantee. But Torres has aspirations beyond making spot starts.

“My mentality is set on getting back into a starting role,” Torres said. “At the same time the team has being playing very well so it’s about patience.

“We have three difficult games coming up and the team is coming from a some complicated games. Perhaps there are players that are tired. I’m not sure if the coach will be doing some rotations but that’s what I have to be ready for.”