He's not making $5 million a year. He's not even making $1 million a year. His contract is, only technically, that of a Designated Player in Major League Soccer, with the latest salary numbers coming out revealing that he's actually making less money overall than Edson Buddle, and only just over half of what Conor Casey was making during his prime years in burgundy.
All that said, Gabriel Torres still has been awfully disappointing this season. The Designated Player moniker carries with it a bit of a mark in MLS. It means, in his case, that the transfer fee to bring him in was sizable, and that he was expected to be a star for the team. It's not just been his bad form while on the field that has disappointed us, though. It's partly the fact that he seems to be getting few chances to get himself back in the business that we expected going into this season.
Getting benched in favor of Deshorn Brown is a bit understandable. Brown's been a man on fire the past several weeks, and you'd be silly to bench him as long as he's fit. But when he goes off, Torres is available and your first call consistently goes towards Danny Mwanga, that's a problem. Mwanga has played 770 minutes for the Rapids since being brought in, and has contributed nothing but a lone assist last season. Torres' season hasn't been fruitful, but in his 962 minutes since coming in at the end of 2013 he's put in three goals and added two assists.
I understand that Torres was awful to start the year, and I understand that Pablo Mastroeni likes to rotate his squad and play the hotter hand when he can. Torres is still the Designated Player, though, and if there's anyone on the team who should be able to turn around a bad run of form, it should be him. But form can't turn around when given 15-minute bursts of play while out of position.
Against Chivas USA, Brown is likely not going to be able to play after that injury he suffered against the Portland Timbers. This should be Torres' big chance to get himself back in the good graces of everyone involved with the Rapids with a start and at least 65 or 70 minutes to make an impact. It may be a bit harsh, but if he doesn't start that game, I'm taking it as a tacit admission that this team has simply given up on their first DP.