Seattle Sounders defender Román Torres will be suspended 10 MLS matches and fined 20 percent of his salary, per the CBA, after violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policies, the league announced on Friday. He is also banned from team activities, which means he can’t train with the team until the second to last week of the regular season. Torres is also banned for playing for the Tacoma Defiance and can’t even train with them until 14 days before the suspension is due to be lifted. It is unclear what drug Torres took to trigger a failed drug test.
The Panamanian international has featured in 15 games this season with 11 of those games being starts for the Sounders. It is assumed that Torres is being suspended from all team activities, meaning he cannot train or be around the team during this time. Being out for 10 games means that the earliest Torres would be available for the Sounders is the second to last game of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 29.
Torres trained with the Sounders on Friday, but was apparently informed of the suspension almost immediately after.
Torres appears to be just the fourth player suspended for PED use in MLS history. Former Sounders centerback Jeff Parke was suspended in 2008 for 10 games for a similar offense along with then New York Red Bulls teammate Jon Conway. Then Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams was also suspended 10 games in 2011.
It is presumed that newly signed DP Xavier Arrega will take Torres’s starting spot, with either Jonathan Campbell or Saad Abul-Salaam filling in as the third-choice CB. This is the final season on Roman’s current contract with the Sounders.
UPDATE: Roman Torres has released a statement.
TRANSLATION: I’m extremely sad to have to confirm that I’ve been notified today about a result of an analysis confirming a forbidden substance according to the policies of major league soccer. This will result in a suspension of 10 games which I will comply with without any objection. During my entire career I have been respectful of the rules of a clean game and my intention has never been to to improve my sports performance by taking substances that are not allowed.
I accept the analysis which possibly was due to having inadvertently ingested a nutritional supplement which was contaminated and which I purchased in the United States. Although I never had the intention of going against the policies of PEDs of major league soccer unfortunately I find myself in this difficult situation and I will have to except the consequences.
Roman Torres appreciates your understanding in this difficult moment and want to do everything possible to make public a situation that could happen to any sports figure at an elite level. I invite every one of you to talk to your doctors and your clubs including your national teams to make sure that you never self medicate to avoid cases such as mine.
With the help of God I will soon be back on the field accomplishing what I like most in the world which is to play football and to defend the colors of my club and country, Panama. Without anything further, Roman Torres