Jorge Guillen-Torres’ pro soccer career was almost over as soon as it began.
The Lights FC defender injured the fifth metatarsal — a long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe — on his right side Jan. 25, about a week after the team added him to its preseason roster. The injury is tough to come back from, but Lights coaches told Guillen-Torres they wanted to keep him around while he rehabbed.
Now he’s on the field again and looking to reward their faith, as he’s set to make his fourth straight start at 6 p.m. Friday at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
“I’m definitely grateful, definitely appreciative,” said Guillen-Torres, who goes by Alex. “Thankfully that happened, and now that I’m on the field, I’ve got to give them what they want and meet their expectations.”
Lights coach Isidro Sanchez said Guillen-Torres’ injury had a 20 percent chance to heal properly because that part of the foot has a lot of contact with the ground and moves often when playing soccer. But the 23-year-old was full-go again by April 27, three months after he was hurt, thanks to his dedication to his rehab.
Sanchez said Guillen-Torres was in tremendous shape even after the injury. So when he finally made his Lights debut April 27, he fit right in.
“In his first game, you cannot notice he’s been 12 weeks out,” Sanchez said. “He performed very good physically.”
Guillen-Torres is still showing signs of rust — his transition to defending to attacking is a work in progress — but his defensive work is impressing the Lights. He has a 81.8 percent success rate on tackles and has four clearances and five interceptions.
“He’s doing pretty good,” defender Miguel Garduno said. “He wants to play. He’s hungry to play. That’s a very good thing.”
Guillen-Torres has performed well enough that the team is experimenting with ways to use him. He played a left midfield role further up the pitch in training this week as the Lights try to take advantage of his athleticism.
“His physical ability, he can play over there. He has the skills,” Sanchez said. “All the power he has here in 75 meters I want him to have here in 50 meters. More intense repetitions in less space.”
Diaz Leaves Lights
The Lights said Thursday that the team and forward Isaac Diaz mutually parted ways. Diaz was with the club on loan from Ascenso MX team Mineros de Zacatecas.
The 25-year-old appeared in four games for the Lights, making two starts.
Who: Lights FC (2-1-4) at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (3-5-2)
What: USL regular-season match
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Colorado Springs, Colo.
TV/Radio: myLVTV; KENO (1460 AM) (Spanish); ESPN+ (streaming)