Rapids Have DP Options

Colorado has been in serious negotiations with Panamanian Gabriel Torres of Zamora FC, but will it come to fruition?
by Greg Moss   |   Thursday, August 01, 2013

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

The identity of a team is always changing, like the clouds in the sky it is always moving. In the span of a week, the Rapids have released striker Kevin Harbottle, and have gone after several players to round out their crop of forwards. I am skeptical of some of these decisions, but feel positive about others.

Gabriel Torres

Let’s begin with the top Panamanian prospect Gabriel Torres. According to Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo, Colorado had been tracking Torres for several months while he played with Zamora and the Panama Men’s National Team. He is striker who can score, something the Rapids have been missing over the past several seasons.

It had become a very realistic proposition that Torres would be the Rapids’ 1st designated player. There were assurances that he would be in a Rapids uniform, there was skepticism that he would never even make it to Colorado. These claims are still in limbo with no official word of what Torres has decided to do.

“Gaby” Torres, as he’s been called, is a highly sought Panamanian striker, one of the top prospects to come out of Panama in some time. He has the uncanny ability at his young age of 24 to find the net scoring 32 goals in 68 matches with Zamora FC and scoring 5 goals with Panama during the 2013 Gold Cup.

The Rapids have been missing the “finishing touch” at the top of their lineup as Deshorn Brown learns the speed of the MLS and Edson Buddle is still ailing old injuries. Atiba Harris seems to have peaked with his goal scoring, and Harbottle was released. The idea was to bring in Torres to be the twinkle in the eye of the Rapids formation. Torres would send the ball where it doesn’t go as often as it should, between the posts.

I have reservations that Torres will even come to Colorado. After several hours of arduous research, I have found many French and Spanish sports sites that have claimed that Torres has already given his intention to the French team AJ Auxerre, if not signed already. There have been claims that he has signed for around $1 million for 3 years.

Also, wikipedia.com shows that his current club is AJ Auxerre. These are of course unofficial until the Colorado Rapids themselves come out and say that he has done so. I do not believe this will be another Charles Eloundou debacle, who is still in the Rapids line of sight.

If in fact Torres has or intends to sign with Auxerre in France, this will leave Colorado with a team who went undefeated in July, but still undergoes criticism for their lack of goal scoring. I personally do not believe that Torres was a necessary signing, but one that would have possibly secured them for the future.

There is some necessity to signing a designated player in Colorado, not just for the immediate future, but also for the distant future. Drawing players to the mile high city would be a role of the DP as well, something that this team needs to keep up with the growth of teams around them. Torres could have helped with that, but I suspect otherwise, though I could be wrong.

Vicente Sanchez

Let me start by stating if the Rapids do in fact sign the 33-year-old Uruguayan striker, I do not believe that this will be another Claudio Lopez failure. Oscar Pareja has stated that this team needs veteran leadership, as does every team. With so much youth on the field at once, it’s hard to glean experience from those who have been playing professional soccer for years.

Sanchez has proven himself to be a striker who can find the goal, at least in the past. He scored 85 goals in 242 appearances with the Mexican team Deportivo Toluca and 11 goals in 49 appearances with Club America.

I do understand bringing in veteran experience, but it’s not always a good idea to bring in veterans who are on their way to spending more time in coffee shops than on the field. Since being with Club Nacional in Uruguay, Sanchez has only scored 3 goals in 21 appearances. Most are excited about this move while a part of me fears that it will be another Lopez trial. I can say with confidence that Sanchez has been better than Lopez ever was and continues to be so, which divulges me to the conclusion that these are 2 different scenarios.

Sanchez will bring veteran leadership to the striking core of the Rapids, joining the experience of Edson Buddle. This would mean a whole other view of style for the young Brown, which would hopefully round out his professional striking abilities. The Rapids could use him to draw traffic off both Buddle and Brown allowing Buddle to gain the goals that he was brought in to score, and Brown to find more space in the box.

Whether Sanchez is signed, again, it is a small addition to a team that has developed into one of the more successful teams in the MLS as of late. The Rapids are only looking to plant the stake in the ground and solidify a 2013 playoff spot, and they believe Sanchez is capable of aiding them in that endeavor.

Rapids headed in right direction

To sum up the previous analysis, the Rapids have had finishing issues over the past few seasons, and are finally addressing it, or at least attempting to. Rapids Nation was told there would be pursuit of a designated player in the future to help with the attack-minded style that Colorado is trying to instill, and that is at least being attended to.

The issues with Cameroonian striker Charles Eloundou are still being ironed out several months later. He too could be help for the Rapids in the attack style of play. With Harbottle being let go, that allows for another international spot on the team.

Whether the Rapids land Torres or not, which in my opinion, is the biggest prospect for the Rapids, though I believe he very well might end up in France, Colorado has taken steps to at least try to secure their future success and appease the minds of Rapids fans throughout the nation.

NEXT UP: August 3 –Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo. 8:30 p.m. EST, MLS LIVE.

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Concordia College
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Colorado Rapids
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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