TUKWILA – Sounders center back Roman Torres was suspended by MLS on Friday for 10 games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Torres tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance, the league said.
Torres, who was acquired in August 2015, participated in training at Starfire Sports in Tukwila on Friday and was told of the suspension after the session. He won’t be eligible to play until the team’s Sept. 29 road match against the San Jose Earthquakes and has been fined 20% of his salary. He was set to make about $740,000 this season.
The Sounders did not comment on the suspension Friday but said they would address it after Saturday’s practice session.
Torres posted a statement to Twitter in Spanish, the first paragraph of which translates to: “I find myself profoundly sad to have to confirm to you that I have been notified today of an adverse result of a banned substance according to the policies of Major League Soccer which will lead me to comply with a suspension of 10 games that I will respect without objection given that during all of my career I have always respected the rules of clean play and my intention never has been to take banned substances to improve my athletic performance.”
His statement ended: “With help from God I will quickly be back on the field doing what I love most, which is play soccer and defend the colors of my club and my beloved country Panama.”
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer recently praised Torres’ play in the starting lineup. The 33-year-old started the past four games with the Sounders, who went 3-1 during the stretch and conceded five goals.
The Panamanian star started 11 of his 15 appearances overall this season, accumulating three shots on goal in 12 attempts.
During his suspension, Torres cannot participate in training with the Sounders or use the team’s facilities. The Sounders are managing injuries along their defensive front with midfielder Gustav Svensson (hamstring) not expected to return to practice until next week and right back Kelvin Leerdam managing an ankle injury that pulled him from selection in a road win against Houston last week.
But at Torres’ position, the Sounders recently signed Ecuadorian defender Xavier Arreaga and have former Tacoma Defiance center back Jonathan Campbell to call on.
Arreaga, who was signed as a Designated Player in May, has made five appearances with three starts for the Sounders. Campbell’s two appearances were both starts due to injuries.
Seattle (11-6-5) hosts Sporting Kansas City (6-9-7) on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.