The Colorado Rapids are closing in on the acquisition of Panamanian forward and Gold Cup co-leading goal-scorer Gabriel Torres from Venezuelan club Zamora FC, with only league paperwork standing in the way of the historic transfer, according to a league source.
MLSsoccer.com has learned that Torres, 24, is expected to be signed by the Rapids as a Designated Player, which would make him the first DP in Rapids franchise history. He could be announced as early as next week.
Torres, who delivered the corner kick on Román Torres’ game-winning goal in Panama’s 2-1 semifinal win over Mexico on Wednesday night, has scored five goals in helping steer Panama to the Gold Cup final. He has also raised eyebrows with 11 goals in just 15 games in leading Zamora to the Venezuelan Clausura title earlier this year.
Torres also scored both of Panama's goals in a surprising 2-1 win over Mexico during the group stage.
The Rapids declined to comment to MLSsoccer.com on Thursday, but president Tim Hinchey tweeted about the club's interest in the Panamanian team on Wednesday night.
Will be watching the Panama squad carefully! Wink wink #OneClub— Tim Hinchey III (@tkhinchey3) July 25, 2013
Colorado have been actively scouring the international transfer market for a goal-scorer, with offseason acquisition Edson Buddle struggling to re-gain his form after an injury-riddled start to 2013.
The Rapids, who sit in sixth in the Western Conference heading into a weekend matchup against the LA Galaxy, are hoping that the 5-foot-11 Torres can provide a difference-making punch up top for head coach Oscar Pareja’s possession-based, offensive-minded attack, which has lacked a clinical finisher for the majority of Pareja’s 18 months in Commerce City.
Torres’ potential arrival continues Colorado’s trend under Pareja of scouring Central and South America for skilled, offensive-minded talent. Midfielders Jaime Castrillón, Hendry Thomas, Kevin Harbottle and Martín Rivero, along with defenders Germán Mera and Diego Calderón, have all been acquired from Central and South America during Pareja’s tenure as head coach.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.