Colorado Rapids bolster already-potent attack by signing Gabriel Torres

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After tearing up the competition in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Panama’s Gabriel Torres signed a Designated Player contract with the Colorado Rapids on Thursday. The signing came just hours before the Major League Soccer transfer window closed.

He will be classified as a Designated Player, the first in club history, due to a combination of salary and acquisition costs, the Rapids said in a press release.

“I’m happy to join the Colorado Rapids, and I will give my all to this club,” Torres said. “Coach [Oscar Pareja] has had confidence in me from the beginning. He told me about the team and the project, and that got my attention. It’s why I’m here — looking to do the right things. I’ll give my best to this organization and look to score many goals to help us win games.”

The 24-year-old Panama City native scored five goals in the Gold Cup, tying the United States’ Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski for the Golden Boot. After the tournament, he left Venezuelan club Zamora FC to join MLS, heading to Denver directly after the tournament for a short time before heading home.

“Torres is dynamic and can score goals and will give us a boost as we enter the final 10 games of the regular season,” Pareja said. “We had been looking at him since before the Gold Cup, but that tournament showed everybody what he is capable of. It’s great for the club that Torres is able to join us, and I am eager to see him on the field with the boys.”

Torres will join an attacking set-up that features MLS Rookie of the Year candidates Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers, as well as former U.S. World Cup player Edson Buddle. The high-flying Rapids sit in second place in the Western Conference, having played two more matches than the four teams immediately below them.

To secure a playoff spot through the final stretch of the season, Colorado will need to find results against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, as well as the Vancouver Whitecaps, whom the Rapids have not faced yet this year but will match up against three times before the end of the regular season.

It all starts on Sunday, with a trip to Chivas USA. Torres will be eligible to join the team as soon as his P-1 work visa is received.

“Torres is an important part of our goal of bringing another MLS Cup to our fans, and he can also help us continue to grow the sport in Colorado,” Rapids president Tom Hinchey said. “This is a big day for the Rapids and MLS.”

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.