Orlando City has made one of the biggest splashes in club history, announcing the signing of winger Facundo Torres. Orlando paid a, “$7.5 million fee and $1.5 million in bonuses for 100% of his rights,” for the 21-year-old Uruguayan from Peñarol, according to Mike Gramajo of the Orlando Sentinel. Torres was developed at Peñarol, the biggest club in Uruguay and one of the top talent hotbeds in South America.
Torres has 16 goals and 15 assists in 71 career games and has already logged 10 appearances for the Uruguayan national team. He’s listed on Transfermarkt as a left winger, but he can play across the frontline. Torres is a tricky left-footed winger who likes to dribble and create his own shot or whip in a cross. He seems to be a pretty direct player who loves to go at defenders and attack. He’s not blazing fast, but he’s definitely quick and energetic.
This move was the worst kept secret in the league for weeks, and now it’s finally official. This is an enormous signing for Orlando City. Regardless of how good Torres will be in MLS, and I’d bet he’ll be pretty damn good, this show of ambition from Orlando and the Wilf Family is beyond exciting. Torres was the second-most valuable player in Uruguay per Transfermarkt and the best player on the best team in that country. He’s a full international for one of the best teams in the South America.
While he’s not a unique signing, basically he’s another Diego Rossi or Brian Rodriguez, it’s very unique and monumental in Orlando’s history. This is a player you expect LAFC or Atlanta to get, not Orlando City. When Orlando’s gone after South American prospects, it’s been forced to dig for hidden gems. Torres is one of the top young players on the continent. This is a marketplace Orlando hasn’t been in before, and this could be the start of an exciting pipeline for the club.
If there’s one potential worry I have for this transfer, it’s the expectations that will be put on Torres. Not only is he the club-record signing, he’s replacing arguably the best player in team history, Nani, on the wing. That’s a lot of weight on the shoulders of a 21 year old. But if he’s truly a $10+ million player, then he’ll be able to handle those expectations.
This is a monumental day for Orlando City. Facundo Torres is a top talent who marks a new step in Orlando’s transfer philosophy. If this is how things will go during the Wilf regime, we’re in for an exciting time in the City Beautiful.