COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – When you look at Gabriel Torres’ stats, the only thing that pops out – as it should – is the amount of goals the Colorado Rapids striker has scored over several different stops over the years.
From leading the Venezuelan Clausura with 11 goals earlier this year for Zamora FC to co-leading the Gold Cup with five goals for his native Panama over the summer, Torres is a goalscorer through and through – and it’s the reason the Rapids signed him as the club’s first Designated Player in franchise history in August.
But Torres isn’t purely a goalscorer, despite his impressive brace over the weekend that led to him being voted MLS’ Player of the Week on Monday. As Torres also displayed in Colorado’s 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, the 24-year-old striker can pass the ball deftly in addition to finishing.
While he didn’t register an assist on Saturday, he made several slick passes to free up teammates – including a beautiful no-look pass to set up Vicente Sanchez and two other passes that both set up corner kicks, another sign of Torres’ increased comfort as he adapts to MLS.
“I have felt good in a lot of games,” Torres said on Saturday. “I’ve felt comfortable for a little while, and now it is just time to go get a title.”
In the second half, Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja brought on veteran striker Edson Buddle as a substitute, putting Buddle up top and Torres just behind Buddle, freeing the Panamanian to pass more.
“It worked well,” Pareja said of the tactical change. “[Torres] wanted to drop 10 yards and attack from that side and playing off Edson. He looked more free I would say. He had a little bit more room to have some action and get in dangerous spaces, so I like that combination.”
- Find more Rapids news at ColoradoRapids.com
Pass or shoot, Torres can do it all, and that dual threat is something the Rapids will need as they head into Sunday’s season finale against the Whitecaps (8 pm ET, MLS LIVE), where, depending on other results, Colorado can finish anywhere from first to sixth in the Western Conference standings.
“I think he's a high-class player,” Pareja said. “He showed it [Saturday] in front of his fans.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.