Jose Torres has become an integral part of the U.S. team under Jurgen Klinsmann. Not only does Klinsmann expect him to be a leeder, the manager also wants Torres to be an elite attacking player.
Torres earned a start in the United States' World Cup qualifying match against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday but was forced to leave the match with a leg injury in the 55th minute.
Goal.com caught up with Torres prior to the U.S. team's match against Guatemala on Tuesday.
Goal.com Tell us about this injury. What happened? What’s the outlook?
Torres: Everything is coming along great. It was just a tough tackle in the last game. It’s part of the game. The recovery is going great so I’m not too worried. I look to be back on the field soon
Talk about what Jurgen has said to you about what he likes in you, what he wants from you and about these new roles he has had you playing.
First thing is that he wants me to go out there and play my game. He wants me to be one of the leaders on the team, wants me to be more aggressive. He wants me to do what I know how to do which is be good on the ball, look for through balls and look to connect with the forwards a lot and help put them in on goal. He wants me to shoot more. We’re a good team but at times when we’ve had great opportunities to shoot we’ll just pass it off so he wants us all shooting more.
After playing against Scotland, Brazil, Canada and Antigua & Barbuda, how do you feel you’re fitting into the system and what do you think the entire team’s strengths are at this point going into this Guatemala game?
I think we’re learning the right things and the right time. We had a great result against Scotland obviously and we knew it was going to be a tough game. We had a lot of bad luck against Brazil but we take positives away from that game. I feel we were unlucky against a Brazil team who have great players and created chances and finished them well. We did great things against Brazil and we created lots of chances, but the chances we had we came close or hit the post or crossbar or the keeper made a great save - and that’s part of soccer.
Against Canada, we dropped the tempo a bit and we didn’t do so well. It was a weird game for all of us. We were all looking forward to doing great things and it turned out to be a different game for us as they got behind the ball well.
Against Antigua, we started off well but they had all their guys running and defending, so it made it hard to send through balls. The only thing you can do is try to get the ball to the flanks and get a cross in. But the most important thing is that we got the win and now we’re going to focus on Guatemala. You know its one of the most challenging things when we have to travel outside the US to play against these other national teams, but we have a great team, with quality players skill-wise that know what to do with the ball. I think we’re gonna do a great job.
Jurgen has talked a lot about being able to play eye to eye against the best teams in the world and imposing your own attacking style rather than defending and catching those teams on the break. But how do you guys handle teams that don’t attack like that and employ the more defensive strategy?
Well, in those situations you have to be patient. Against Antigua for example, despite the great result, there were times we’re we just want to go forward and want to go forward instead of slowing things down and trying to bring them out. If they don’t come out and you can’t play through the middle then you keep moving the ball around and to the flanks and try to get crosses in and keep getting that good movement from our forwards. But I think this team has that faith that we just have to work on that a little bit more and after we get more of these games together then we’re going to be better than we were in the beginning.
Which game do you expect from the Guatemalans? This being your first time to play there, what’s been the feedback from some of the veterans about their previous experiences playing in Guatemala?
They are at home and in front of their crowd and they are going to try come out fast and have a good game. They get motivated when they play against the U.S.. This will be their first qualifying game at home this round, and they are going to be trying to get three points right away. I don’t expect them to sit back and defend but neither will we, so if we play our game intelligently then we’ll be able to move and keep the ball and be efficient then we’ll get chances and put a few in.
Talk about the transition to the national team from Pachuca
Its different. Obviously its going to be different when you’re playing at different levels.
With Pachuca you get to train with the same players regularly and you even get to play against the same players who are in your league. It’s competitive and there’s a lot of talent, but as competitive as it is, when you come into the national team you’re playing with the best players in the USA, some of whom play in Europe and bring very important experience. So I try learn from those guys so I can get to that level. Its very competitive playing with the national team and its been great since I’ve been here and I think its about learning the guys, learning new things and its just a different level. “