A player of Facundo Torres’ caliber, while being courted away from Penarol in his native Uruguay, faced no shortage of suitors.
But the pitch from Orlando City SC resonated at a different level, with EVP of soccer operations and general manager Luiz Muzzi telling MLSsoccer.com the 21-year-old is among the top young talents “in all of South America.”
So when a Young Designated Player deal through 2025 with a 2026 option presented itself, Torres was left convinced Orlando would allow him to prosper. There were lengthy negotiations, with Orlando ultimately logging a reported club-record $7.5 million transfer fee with add-ons.
“One thing I really believe in is the project they’ve got going on here,” Torres said through a translator. “From the very onset it was the confidence that they had in me and that was very important for not only me, but my family – to be at a club that valued me, that saw me in an important role and had the confidence in me to come here and be an important factor in the team.
“… That really inspired me to come here and you can look at the chemistry in the locker room as things that are all really important to me. I think fundamentally their belief in me is a big reason why I’m here.”
Torres joins Orlando as a centerpiece of their new-look attack, flanked by DP striker Ercan Kara (recent arrival from Rapid Vienna), returning DP No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra, striker Alexandre Pato, homegrown Benji Michel and more.
The Lions will be chasing a third straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance in 2022, and Torres will surely play a significant role in those ambitions. He’s been capped 10 times by Uruguay and is a key part of their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying efforts, with La Celeste fourth in the Conmebol standings (automatic qualification spot) under a revival led by former Inter Miami CF manager Diego Alonso.
“I’m a forward, an attacking player that likes to play out on the wings,” Torres said. “But one of the things I love to do the most is just attacking at goal and going to goal. Inside the box, outside the box, it’s one of those things where I just really love getting towards goal. And I’m a player that loves to be on the ball all the time because if I don’t have the ball, I’m waiting for it and I love to be on the attack and affect the game as much as possible on the ball.”
Orlando fans are clearly anticipating that impact, greeting Torres at the airport upon his arrival for preseason camp.
As for when Tores first scores at Exploria Stadium? The outpouring of support will shine through, reminding him of his boyhood club.
“The reception I got last night at the airport made me really happy and it made me feel like the fans really want me to be here,” Torres said. “It’s great and similar to how it was in Uruguay with the passion that they’ve shown.”