Most mornings, Chris Torres rises early, packs his earlier child, Christian, into the car and drives him to soccer practice.
Nothing abnormal about that. It’s a arena that plays out consistently in bags of Southern California households. Alone Torres isn’t demography his son to a bounded esplanade to alternation with an American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) team. Instead, they accomplish a 45-minute drive from Fontana to Cal State L.A., area Torres plays for LAFC, one of the top teams in Major League Soccer.
More than seven months accomplished his 16th birthday, Torres doesn’t accept a driver’s authorization but does accept a able ambition and a adventitious to alpha Tuesday night aback LAFC meets the Seattle Sounders in a Western Appointment playoff quarterfinal. And it’s one the advanced is embracing.
“I’m actually accessible for it,” Torres said by buzz as Charlie, the family’s accomplishment dog, barked endlessly in the background. “From the aboriginal day I stepped into preseason, aloof architecture that confidence, authoritative abiding I don’t beat myself.
“Most canicule I feel I was meant to be here. I feel I’ve formed adamantine enough.”
If Torres gets his chance, it will be because four LAFC starters — including Diego Rossi, the league’s arch scorer — activated absolute for COVID-19 while with their civic teams during World Cup qualifying. All four abide abandoned in South America.
“Diego oftentimes plays on the larboard ancillary of our attack, and now he won’t be there. So one achievability is Christian Torres,” LAFC drillmaster Bob Bradley said. “He’s not the exact aforementioned amateur as Diego, but he’s still a adolescent amateur that, in contempo games, has apparent that he’s confident. He’s a blackmail to account goals.
“When you say you can’t alter Diego, maybe you can’t, but who knows? Maybe on the day Christian can comedy as able-bodied as Diego. Maybe he can comedy better.”
Maybe, but LAFC ability charge added than that because it hasn’t won in Seattle aback 2018, aback a ambition by Rossi stood up for a 1-0 achievement in the franchise’s aboriginal regular-season game. Plus the Sounders concluded LAFC’s division aftermost year, acceptable the appointment final en avenue to their additional MLS appellation in four seasons.
Christian Torres array his aboriginal ambition for LAFC adjoin Portland on Oct. 18.
Also missing for the playoff rematch are advanced Brian Rodríguez, the team’s abetment baton with seven, midfielder José Cifuentes and apostle Diego Palacios. The leash accumulated for 46 starts this season.
If Torres starts, he will comedy abutting to Bradley Wright-Phillips, 35, who denticulate his aboriginal Premier League ambition for Manchester City beneath than eight months afterwards Torres was born. Torres has bankrupt the gap bound since, abutting the Galaxy’s academy as a apostle in 2016 and scoring 10 goals in 31 amateur with the U-12 team.
He denticulate 15 times the abutting season, but the Galaxy kept him on the aback line, so Torres jumped to the apprentice LAFC academy, area he confused to advanced and led the U-15 aggregation with 17 goals.
“My ancestors and I acquainted it was the appropriate moment for me to abide my career about else,” Torres said. “So far, it’s been a abundant journey.”
A adventure that included an allurement to the aboriginal team’s training affected in January and a able arrangement in July, about the time best of his accompany were finishing their green year in aerial school. Torres fabricated his MLS admission seven weeks after in Seattle, acceptable the aboriginal acquaintance signing to comedy for LAFC.
Torres played in bisected of LAFC’s final 16 games, starting alert and scoring once. And while Rossi was called the best adolescent amateur in MLS this year, at 22 he’s an old man compared with Torres, the third-youngest amateur to arise in a regular-season bold in 2020.
Torres’ timing couldn’t be better. On the aboriginal weekend of the MLS playoffs, three teenagers denticulate goals that either put their aggregation in advanced or affected added time. If Torres gets one Tuesday, he will become the youngest ambition scorer in MLS playoff history.
He has already won over his teammates and coaches.
“Christian is a accomplished player. He’s addition that you can trust. He apperceive his position able-bodied and what we appetite of him,” said midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, who hopes to alpha Tuesday for the aboriginal time aback he acutely sprained his appropriate abate in LAFC’s aftermost bold adjoin Seattle on Oct. 11.
“In agreement of him actuality accessible to footfall in, I’m not surprised,” added Todd Saldaña, LAFC’s academy director. “He was aloof agog at the opportunity.
“He’s not overthinking it. He’s accomplishing what comes accustomed to him.”
Now if he could alone get his driver’s license, his dad could beddy-bye in.
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