When rookie third-round MLS SuperDraft pick Jasper Löffelsend arrived in Salt Lake City, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What he found waiting for him was Real Salt Lake center-back, Marcelo Silva.
“He was here the very first evening with me,” said Löffelsend. “He took me out and showed me around the city a little bit. He was always there to support us, show us the locker rooms, stay out with us in practice and then help us on the pitch as well.”
As Silva reaches his 100th Major League Soccer appearance, his ability on the field has never been questioned. The Uruguayan has helped keep 29 clean sheets and has made 166 interceptions throughout his six seasons with RSL. As a teammate, you could argue he’s somehow made an even bigger impact.
“Since the moment I arrived, he's treated me very well,” said RSL midfielder, Pablo Ruiz. “He's a great leader on and off the pitch. He has a lot of experience from the length of his career, and he has truly helped me develop my game, he sees things that I myself don't see. I've also been able to spend some time with "El Tanque" outside of just being footballers, and he has been a great friend since I arrived. He's incredible, an amazing player.”
This of course is to take nothing away from what Silva has brought to RSL on the pitch. Silva has scored two massive goals for the Club this year, scoring game winning goals against the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes earlier this season. With two goals notched on his belt this year, he's already doubled his career goal count with RSL. Silva's large frame makes him a menace from set pieces, which is exactly how he scored his first ever goal for RSL against FC Dallas back in 2019. His most impressive goal however may be the one that came a few games later against Minnesota United from a Jefferson Savarino assist.
Defensively, Silva has established himself as a rock in the back, creating a dynamic center-back pairing with teammate Justen Glad. So far this season when the two star defenders have played together, they've kept seven shutouts and only allowed seven goals. That partnership has aged like fine wine. Marcelo's first ever MLS appearance was alongside Justen Glad at center-back against Sporting Kansas City in a 1-1 draw back in July, 2017. Appearance 100? Against Sporting Kansas City in July, 2022. This time the pair got the win and a shutout in a 3-0 victory at the RioT.
Additionally, Silva has been wearing the Captain's armband a majority of the season and his leadership has been a shining light for the club.
“At this moment I am also privileged to wear the captain's armband,” said Silva “I say for the moment because our captain is recovering from an injury, and when he comes back he'll rightfully wear the captain's band again. But at this moment I have been tasked to lead and I try to guide my teammates and give it my all on the pitch. I am very proud to have reached this moment.”
Löffelsend and Ruiz are enjoying their career and both credit Silva as a source of their success. Not only helping them settle into Utah off the field, but on the field with RSL as well.
Tanque, himself has settled in and made a home here along the Wasatch Front. He has a tattoo of where he fly-fishes in Provo, a hobby he picked up after hanging out with former RSL midfielder, Kyle Beckerman. He’s made being out in the community a priority all while performing exceptionally for RSL on the pitch. For all his time in Utah, Silva hasn’t been counting the days, instead he’s been living in the moment.
“Honestly I wasn't keeping track, it has been some time since I've arrived,” said Silva. “From my first day to now I really enjoy my time with the Club, the city, and my teammates. Even outside of my football career there have been many memories and moments I have enjoyed with my teammates, and here in Utah. I am very grateful for all the amazing moments from football, to life and to the Club to have the opportunity to be here and to enjoy all this.”
Silva started his career in Uruguay with Danubio Fútbol Club before moving to Spain where he played for four different clubs, Almeria, Las Palmas, Real Valladolid and Real Zarzagoza, never making more than 50 appearances for each Club. Finally in 2017, he joined Real Salt Lake and the rest is history.
“Playing 100 matches for the same team makes me feel so proud,” said Silva. “It's also the first time I've been able to accomplish this in my career. It makes me extremely happy to reach this milestone.”
As for what’s next, we already know how his teammates feel.
“Let's go for a hundred more,” said Löffelsend.