June 3, 2010


The added value of Torres and Gomez (Luke Cyphers and Doug McIntyre, 6/03/10, ESPN)

[W]ould Pachuca supporters actively root against a team playing Torres, who's been a fixture in their midfield for most of the past two years? Or how about Gomez, the Mexican league scoring champ who will join Torres with the country's best club next season?

Granted, "Gringo" Torres, as he's known, took some heat from fans south of the border upon choosing to rep his birth nation. But don't rule out the possibility of his winning some of them over now that Torres, still just 22, is finally beginning to make his mark with the U.S.

It's taken time for the Texan to establish himself within Bob Bradley's squad, but from his debut in October 2008, Torres has displayed a comfort on the ball and an ability to pace the Americans' buildup that's been missing since Reyna retired from the national team in 2006. He's also improved his sometimes-lax defensive play considerably, increasing his odds of seeing the field in South Africa.

"I've been watching video to know how to defend more and how to close the gaps down," Torres told us last week. "Usually, I would just defend one man, and the other one I would leave him, but now I'm watching my back and trying to close the gap and trying to get the ball."

Gomez, meanwhile, figures to come off the bench if the U.S. needs a goal, a role he thrived in with Puebla earlier this year. Gomez's scoring touch helped him earn a huge media and fan following at Puebla (they called him "the American soldier") and his 10 strikes equaled Mexican international and recent Manchester United signee Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who played more minutes.

If Torres is really committed to defense now, play him with Michael Bradley in the middle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 3, 2010 2:23 PM
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