Sanchez vs. Torres: Misplaced Faith?

The recent signings of Torres and Sanchez have brought the Rapids yet another renewed vision of the playoffs, but who impacts the game more?
by Greg Moss   |   Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mile High Club – column on Colorado Rapids & the Denver area and Colorado soccer scenes.

The 1st ever-designated player in the history of the franchise should mean something, and to some, it still does.  It created a buzz throughout the burgundy faithful, with fanatics piling up on each other’s backs at the gates of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park like ants pouring into their mound of dirt after raiding the remnants of a recent picnic. 

Gabriel Torres, after what seemed like an epic fantasy, finally graced Colorado with his presence only hours before the trade deadline.  At that point, it was clear that the Panamanian star would remain 5,280 feet above sea level.  The pact that was struck sealed Torres’ fate, and he would don the burgundy and blue kit creating a new view in the minds of many, that Colorado could return to the MLS Cup after beginning the season with dismal hopes of finishing in 6th at best. 

Expectations at that point were higher than they’d ever been, possibly higher than ever before in the Rapids’ short history.  With depth being an attribute only recently discovered, the likes of which the Rapids had never seen before, adding a high profile player to the roster made it seem clear that this could be the start of a legacy team.  Youth fills the ranks of the players, most with high skill ceilings; Colorado is clearly building for years to come.  It wasn’t until the capture of Torres that speculation sitting on the edge of success became reality that the Rapids were also building for the present. 

Not only has the 2013 season built a team from scratch, but to the surprise of many, built the hopes of the fans into nearly a “Cup or bust” mentality. 

The Addition of Sanchez

What seemed like only moments before the signing of Torres, and somewhat overshadowed by the possibility of the to-be designated player, Colorado had signed the Uruguayan veteran, Vicente Sanchez.  The skillful player’s arrival excited fans, but there was doubt about his age and ability to play at the speed of the MLS.  It was a heartening addition with the absence of creativity out with Martin Rivero.  Colorado had become a hard-nosed, punch-you-in-the-mouth team being forced to drive the ball forward reminiscent of a more traditional era of soccer. 

From the moment Sanchez entered the stadium for his 1st match with the Colorado Rapids, he was nothing short of a Godsend.  His creativity was clearly the spark that Colorado needed to free up the strikers, as well as the wing play that had been so successful for Colorado for the majority of the season. 

In the 5 matches he’s played, most of which have not been the full 90 minutes, Sanchez has already scored a goal and has 2 assists.  But more importantly, his control of the attacking midfield is thus far unmatched by any.  Edson Buddle, the veteran goal scorer who was signed from the Galaxy before the season began, opened up a barrage of goals due to much of the traffic being drawn to the play of Sanchez. 

Clearly, the signing of Sanchez may have been underestimated in comparison to that of Torres.

Sanchez vs. Torres

You all know where this is headed:  A comparison between the 2 thus far in the 2013 season.  Yes, Torres has played 162 minutes less than Sanchez (364 vs. 202); but in that time, he has taken 2 less shots than Sanchez and has scored and assisted 0.  The expectation was that he would have an immediate impact for the Rapids in the goal-scoring department.  Keep in mind that I am not stating that Torres will not be successful in the future, but it is clear up to this point in the season what the bigger signing has been.

Torres does find space in the box; he does draw traffic, but hasn’t been able to link anything together to put points on the board for Colorado.  Oscar Pareja has created a reputation for himself as a coach who plays the “hot-hand” whoever that may be.  Sanchez is clearly that, especially with Rivero still not 90’ fit. 

The expectations of these 2 players may have been misplaced when discussing immediate impact.  It is assuredly obvious that Torres is a player for the future, but as for this season, Sanchez may take the cake when driving Colorado to a playoff spot.  Much of that remains to be seen, but if Colorado stays on the path they currently reside upon, expect Sanchez to be the player of the latter half of the 2013 season. 

NEXT UP: September 20 – Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, JELD-WEN Field, Portland, Ore. 10 p.m. EST, NBC Sports Network.

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Greg MOSS

Nationality:
USA
College:
Concordia College
Club Domestic:
Colorado Rapids
Club Foreign:
Everton
Producer of "From the Pitch" with Marcelo Balboa and a personal Rapids podcast. All personality with a face for radio and profile pictures. Born a midwesterner, thankfully transformed into a Rocky Mtn dweller. Covering Colorado Rapids with words and voice
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