Torres wins 2016 Latino del Año

Sounders’ Roman Torres won award on Sunday, making another award in a storybook 2016 for the Panamanian defender and his Seattle Sounder teammates.

After underperforming in the first half of the season, Seattle stormed into the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with an incredible win run that took them all the way to their first-ever MLS title. Torres played a crucial role in the league triumph with a contribution on personal terms, returning from a severe knee injury in August to boost the Sounders’ defense.

Torres, who returned after a year out of action due to injury, coincide with the arrival of playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro and the impact of new coach Brian Schmetzer, sparked a rampaging side. Seattle sealed off an 8-1-3 record in matches in which the veteran Panama international featured, and he inscribed his name in the club history book by scoring the winning spot-kick in the penalty shootout that decided the MLS Cup after Toronto FC and Sounders played a goalless 120 minutes at BMO Field on December 10.

Torres won 53 percent of the total votes cast in the final round of Latino del Año voting, defeating NYCFC’s Costa Rican defender Ronald Matarrita (36%), Mexican star Giovani dos Santos of the LA Galaxy (10%) and Montreal’s talented Argentine Ignacio Piatti who has the lowest vote(2%). Torres also won the most votes cast throughout the week when the whole rounds of the competition (round of 16, quarterfinals and grand finale) are counted.

The award makes Torres the first Panamanian to ever the award, although he’s the fifth Central American to be so recognized, and the third Sounder after Fredy Montero won it 2010 and Marco Pappa followed suit in 2014.

Introduced in 2010, Latino del Año is’s annual poll to select the league’s top Hispanic footballer, based on a popular vote among MLS fans. It should be noted that Latino del Año is not an official MLS award, but just a recognition given by subscribers.