There was a somber feeling during Friday morning’s training session for Facundo Torres.
Despite being named to the reserves earlier this month, Torres was left out of the most recent Uruguay national team roster that’s preparing to play its final set of friendlies this week before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this November.
Speaking with the Orlando Soccer Journal on Friday moments after learning he wasn’t going to be joining the upcoming training camp with Uruguay, Torres thought that he had done enough with Orlando City this season to warrant a call-up with the Celeste.
“I had a lot of hope. I was working a lot for it,” Torres told the Orlando Soccer Journal on Friday. “For any player, it’s a dream to be in the national team and you fight for it… obviously, I’m sad to not be part of the recent call-ups, but I’m calm knowing I gave everything. There’s still time, and I’m going to continue to push. I’m in good form, I’m going to continue to follow that path, so I can fight for a spot in the World Cup.”
Torres, 22, has been on torrid form lately for Orlando, increasing his goal count this past weekend to 11 goals across all competitions this season — 7 goals and 9 assists in MLS play.
A considerable reason, Facu felt was enough to make an argument to break into the Uruguayan roster for the first time since February.
“I have to continue working here, that’s my best way to convince the coach that I can have a place in the team and that’s by giving my maximum effort,” said Torres.
“One always works to be part of the national team,” he added. “We’ve had these last two games where we lost and winning the cup perhaps distracted us from league play but we have to return to winning ways to secure a spot in the playoffs.”
Torres said he hasn’t spoken with Uruguay head coach Diego Alonso since the last time he visited the Orlando City training facilities earlier this year.
The Orlando City DP also did not make the last Uruguayan camp last summer.
Head coach Oscar Pareja said after the team’s 4-0 win last weekend that he was amazed at Facundo’s performance and expressed support after Facu missed out on the recent Uruguay roster.
“I was amazed at how he overcame tonight,” Pareja said on Torres’ performance. “I saw him so sad yesterday when they named the national team and at some moment I thought about playing him today or not because he was very sad, but he came up today with those eyes open and willing to come and do it again. We felt confident and early in the game he showed it.”
Torres signed with Orlando in January after the Lions paid a club-record transfer fee of $9 million to Uruguayan club Peñarol.
Facu’s arrival to Central Florida brought a lot of optimism and hype that has lived up those expectations especially to a club that’s not only looking at qualifying for the MLS Cup playoffs for a third consecutive year but contest for multiple titles this season.
Orlando won its first trophy in the MLS era earlier this month after defeating Sacramento Republic to lift the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Torres scored twice during the Sept. 7 final at Exploria Stadium and finished tied as the top goalscorer of the competition with four goals. This season so far, Torres has 11 goals across all competitions for Orlando.
And with that it’s brought plenty of interest from clubs across Europe, which Orlando City has turned down, the OSJ has learned.
Facu said he’s happy in Orlando — his family and girlfriend are living comfortably with him.
The dream of playing overseas, however, exists the same as it did before arriving in Orlando.
“One always dreams of playing in Europe, it’s something I would love one day,” Torres said. “I came to Orlando to continue to grow, and it helped me tremendously. But honestly, I have no idea what’s going to happen next year, I’m only concentrating on these final games which are important to secure a spot in the playoffs.”
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