Orlando City first-year players Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo were named to Uruguay’s 55-man preliminary World Cup roster by head coach Diego Alonso on Friday morning, a month out from the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The deadline for Alonso to submit his final 26-man squad is November 14.
Torres, 22, is coming off of a monster breakout season for Orlando City, in which he scored 13 goals with 10 assists across all competitions this year, including a stellar performance in the U.S. Open Cup final that helped the Lions to their first major trophy in its MLS history.
Torres, who made his national team debut in June of 2021, was a part of the Uruguayan squad for its final stretch of World Cup qualifying games, but hasn’t appeared in a game since last November and most recently was not included in Uruguay’s squad for its friendlies against Iran and Canada in September.
At the time, Torres expressed his disappointment about the snub to the Orlando Soccer Journal.
“I had a lot of hope. I was working a lot for it,” Torres said. “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.”
As for Araujo, his inclusion in the roster might just be more of a nod to the 21-year-old after his impressive debut season with Orlando City this season — given that he’s yet to even make his debut for the senior national team.
In over 3,000 minutes for the Lions this season, Araujo cemented himself as one of the best young midfielders in the league, finishing in the 83rd percentile in pressures per game (22.37), 78th percentile in tackles (2.78), and 94th percentile in passing completion percentage (90%) among comparable MLS midfielders, according to FBRef.
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