Gabriel Torres is one of the bigger names on the Panama national team. Panama is in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, making history by having this as their first appearance ever.
As a result, the hype around the team is at an all-time high if you’re in Panama, or even a casual fan of the World Cup.
Although, since Panama is in the tournament, that means the United States missed the cut due to Panama’s win over Costa Rica.
Since this is Panama’s first World Cup appearance, not a whole lot is known about the players participating.
Here’s what you need to know about Gabriel Torres going into the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
1. Torres Has 15 International Goals Going Into The World Cup
The fact that this is Panama’s first World Cup appearance hasn’t stopped Torres from competing at a high level in international play.
Coming into the World Cup, Torres has 15 international goals and at the age of 29, he has plenty more in the tank.
Three of those goals have come in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches while one came in a friendly against Iran.
Panama has matches against Belgium, England and Tunisia so Torres has his work cut out for him.
2. Torres Was The Colorado Rapids First Designated Player
In 2013 Gabriel Torres made the leap to the MLS and became the Colorado Rapids’ first designated player in club history.
“Signing Gabriel Torres as our club’s first Designated Player is a historic moment, but it’s most exciting because he’s the right player to help this team win,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo, according to coloradorapids.com. “We want to thank the senior management at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and Stan Kroenke for their support in bringing Torres to Colorado. We’re excited for him to join the squad.”
The Designated Player Rule was created to help MLS teams compete for star players from the international markets. This rule has been nicknamed the “Beckham rule” as he is the first player to sign with this rule when he signed his contract with the LA Galaxy.
Although Torres only spent a few years with the Rapids, he made his mark by chipping in 10 goals.
3. Torres Looks To Play a Big Role For The National Team Going Forward
Panama is certainly an underdog going into the World Cup but that doesn’t mean they are completely absent of talent.
Current backbones of the team Luis Tejada and Blas Perez are getting up there in age so Gabriel Torres looks like he’ll be the next in line to carry the torch.
Here’s what FIFA.com wrote about Torres going into the World Cup:
Gabriel Torres: With Luis Tejada and Blas Perez in the latter stages of their playing careers, Torres has bravely and effectively stepped forward and looks to be a natural replacement for either of those strikers.
Since this is the World Cup there will be a lot of eyes on every team but there will certainly be an eye on Panama when they go against England, always one of the better teams.
4. Torres Was Captain of Panama’s U-20 Team
It was clear at a young age that Gabriel Torres would become special.
Panama squeaked into Group E and finished with one draw and two losses in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. This meant only players who were under 20-years-old would have the option of representing their country.
More than 10 years later Torres has helped lead his team into the World Cup, which is a big payoff and long way to come.
5. This is Panama’s First World Cup Ever
There has been a lot of talent to come from Panama but that has never resulted in a World Cup appearance until now.
Panama actually caught a break from a controversial goal and a loss by the United States to even be in a position to compete.
Gabriel Torres was credited with a goal that actually never crossed the line. Costa Rica, Panama’s opponent, protested the call but the goal was allowed to stand. Despite the controversy, Panama has made it into the World Cup.
Later in the match Roman Torres knocked in the eventual game-winning goal that, coupled with a loss by the United States, allow Panama to qualify for the World Cup.