LOS ANGELES – Román Torres plans to stick around Seattle for a while.
The Panamanian defender, who scored the last-minute goal against Costa Rica that gave Panama its first World Cup berth, said he is “close to finishing a new contract with Seattle, and God willing, I’ll be able to stay here in MLS for many more years.”
Torres spoke highly of the league during its annual media day Saturday in Los Angeles.
Questions then turned toward the upcoming World Cup and the 88th-minute goal that made history for his country while simultaneously ensuring the United States’ failure.
When asked about Panama’s “comeback” to qualify after losing 4-0 to the U.S. days earlier in Orlando, Torres said it was no such thing.
“Not a comeback,” Torres said. “The U.S. needed to win versus Trinidad & Tobago to qualify, but it’s the way soccer goes. We did our job and we deserve to go to the World Cup. The Panama national team has been looking to go to the World Cup for many years now. For many years we were close, and last year we were able to achieve that goal. Everything is in God’s time.
“We always believed in ourselves, we believed we could achieve the goal, we never lost our faith and we did it – we qualified for the World Cup.”
And that trumps all other accomplishments in 2017 for Torres, including helping Seattle return to the MLS Cup final, where the Sounders lost to Toronto FC.
“I highlight both seasons,” Torres said, “but [my season] with Panama the most. It’s something I’ll carry in my heart always because it was so historic.”