Torres maintaining hope for U.S. starting spot

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A year ago, Jose Francisco Torres accepted the U.S. national team's call-up and was soon on the field representing his birth country.

Now, Torres has spent time with the U.S. in qualifying matches and was a part of the Confederations Cup team. But he still not secured down consistent playing time.

That has not dampened his spirits any, however, as he said upon his return to Mexico that he longs to have an increased role with the U.S. national team.

"First of all, I hope to win a spot on the national team and from there go to the World Cup and play," Torres told Mexican daily Record.

Despite his increased playing time with Pachuca, Torres has not yet translated that into more time on the field with the United States. This year, Torres has played a total of 74 minutes over three games, his lone start in a 3-1 drubbing in Costa Rica, a game he left at halftime.

Torres helped Pachuca reach the Mexican league final and set career highs in starts (13), games played (16) and minutes (996). With more time on the field, Torres spent more time in front of fans on the road and thus was subject to their thoughts of his decision to play for the United States.

"Everywhere I go, I get boos. But I believe that's part of football," Torres said. "It happened in Puebla, where I've been insulted the most. It doesn't make me sad. It's part of the game, and it makes me laugh and I don't say anything to anybody."

Still, Torres said choosing one country over the other was not easy. Ultimately, though, it came down to the team that was more persistent in reaching out for his services.

"It was difficult to make the choice between Mexico and the United States," Torres said. "Unfortunately they never looked at me, they never gave me the opportunity in Mexico, but on the other hand the United States were always observing me. They saw video of me and, God willing, that door opened up for me. They did give me an opportunity and I had to take advantage of it."

Playing for the U.S. national team is much different than playing for Pachuca, Torres told Record. The ambience in the locker room, the mentality and the way players go about there work is different -- no better, no worse, just different.

"In the United States, the work is very serious and you have to do it with a lot of respect. The national team has progressed a lot and they've grown a lot on the soccer end of it. There is a lot of heart with the national team, you don't stop running or fighting, that's the characteristic," Torres said. "Here, in locker rooms in Mexico, there is more joy. It's always upbeat and there is always players who are happy. El Chaco [Christian Gimenez] sets that tone. In the national team, it's more serious. There's music there too - most of them like rap so that's what we listen to - but we get along great."

And while he has not yet become a starter for Bob Bradley's team, Torres said everyone on the U.S. national team, whether they are playing, coaching or on the bench, is set on one thing.

"The mentality there is to always aspire for victory," Torre said. "The United States always tries to come out ahead."