Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja expects Gabriel Torres-Vicente Sanchez pairing to flourish

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — If you saw Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez postgame on Saturday night, you would’ve thought the two had been playing together for years.

While Sanchez was answering reporters’ questions after the Colorado Rapids’ 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, the 24-year-old Torres was sitting in his locker – right next to Sanchez’s – busily poking fun at the 33-year-old Uruguayan veteran.

The two newcomers started up top together for the first time against Vancouver, with Sanchez providing the assist on the Rapids’ opening goal as the duo showed flashes of a promising partnership in their highly anticipated debuts.

“I was concerned naturally today with how that partnership could develop,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters after the match. “But I think that understanding showed in periods of the game, which is good. It cannot be anything but better surely in the upcoming days.”

Torres, making his Rapids debut after becoming the club’s first Designated Player in franchise history last week, wasn’t particularly crisp while logging 78 minutes and missing two clear chances, one in either half. But in finding space for himself and timing his runs to create his opportunities, Torres flashed the potential that made the Rapids splurge for the CONCACAF Gold Cup’s co-leading goalscorer.

“I am happy because the team won,” Torres told postgame. “After a few games, I’ll start to feel a little better within the group.”

Torres and Sanchez have been training together for barely a week, but with the Rapids afforded a two-week break before their next game August 31 against Sporting Kansas City, the duo will work on their chemistry before Colorado’s critical final eight games of the season.

“We’re going to have more time to work together as a team,” Sanchez said. “There’s two weeks without a game, and that’s good. They’re two weeks to work more, work with my teammates, and I’m happy.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for