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Glad and Silva Forming Formidable Partnership on RSL's Backline

Justen Glad and Marcelo Silva are separated by eight years, a language barrier and different lifestyles.  Glad has known just one club since he was 15.  The 20-year-old Real Salt Lake Academy product is in his fifth season with Real Salt Lake’s first team and seventh in the organization.  Meanwhile Silva is a married father of two from Uruguay who is playing for his seventh club on three different continents since first signing as a professional in 2009.

Yet for all of their differences, they have become a near-unsolvable riddle on the field for RSL, complementing each other like cookies and milk.

“We were really picking it up at the end of the season and playing good soccer,” Glad said.  “At first it’s tough.  I don’t speak amazing Spanish.  He doesn’t speak amazing English.  It just takes time to pick up their habits and tendencies and working out how you play as a pair.  That’s just time and games and situational things that happen in training.  I’m ready for 2018 and what that partnership will look like.”

The duo was on the field together for just 650 minutes in 2017, but held a 0.69 goals against average.  In matches that saw them play the full 90 minutes together, RSL held a 4-0-3 record, winning each of the final four matches they played together.

Each of their strengths seem to match areas where the other could stand to improve.  And as each improves, the bond that makes them so formidable grows stronger.

“You look at Marcelo and he’s a hard-tackling, hard-nosed defender and he’s capable with the ball.  Justen is a very good player with the ball and he’s a capable physical player,” RSL Head Coach Mike Petke said.  “I think that complements each other.”

Added Glad, “We’re both intelligent players and we can both read the game and work together well.  We both know our strengths and he’s more of a destroyer in the back.  We kind of have an understanding.  That’s imperative for two center backs.”

The reasons for their combined success are multitude.  The team, as a whole, started to learn Petke’s system much better.  RSL was much better in the attack over that stretch as well, causing teams to play more defensive.  Add to that the skill levels of the center back pair and the success becomes apparent.

Yet for all of their success in their first matches together, Petke sees higher possibilities for what the tandem can bring to the club, particularly as Silva learns his teammates and the intricacies of the league more.

“Marcelo came in and he did a good job last year.  I thought that there were times that certain things like speed of play and perhaps timing of his tackles were key elements that he needed to work on coming into this league,” Petke said.  “Now looking at him in this preseason he’s done well for himself.  I’m constantly challenging him, but he’s on the right path, for sure.”