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Even in loss, Torres wins over Union fans

CHESTER, Pa. — Even after the final whistle blew on one of the Philadelphia Union’s most frustrating losses of the season, many fans remained in the stands and chanted the name of one player: Roger Torres.

The Union’s 20-year-old midfielder certainly warranted the extra attention after keying the attack in the second half and netting the club’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to the defending MLS Cup champions at PPL Park on Friday night.

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“Listening to them, the way they chant my name, that’s something that makes me feel very good,” Torres told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “Hopefully I’ll continue to work hard and we’ll get the three points that we need in the next game.”

Torres’ big game against the Rapids came on the heels of two other impressive performances, against Everton FC and Real Madrid on July 20 and July 23, respectively. In those international friendlies, Torres was all over the ball and took a total of eight shots.

“Roger Torres is never afraid to take a shot,” Union assistant coach John Hackworth said following the Real Madrid game. “He loves the ball, he loves every opportunity to make a great pass or take a shot. It is something we want to give all our players the freedom to do if they have the opportunity.”

Before those pair of exhibition contests, Torres had not seen any action in four straight league games. But the young Colombian midfielder was rewarded by making the most of his Reserve League starts, which helped get him back onto the field with the first team.

Now, Torres appears to once again be one of manager Peter Nowak’s top offensive weapons off the bench. He just hopes the next time he comes on as a second-half sub, he’ll be able to lead his team to victory.

“A goal is a goal and I’m happy about scoring,” said Torres, who’s now scored twice this season in 367 total minutes. “But we didn’t get three points. I thought we were going to score [a second goal]. I was thinking about the possibility of earning at least one point. But that didn’t happen and that’s part of the game.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.