When Luis Silva came out of the match in the 64th minute, he knew he had put in an honest shift. Making his third start in the last four matches, Silva was Head Coach Mike Petke’s target man. It was a change from his early season contributions in the Claret-and-Cobalt midfield.
Leading the forward line, the versatile playmaker occupied the Philadelphia Union’s central defenders and opened up space in behind for Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino and Joao Plata.
“Luis brings something special, he is so dynamic with the ball just like Jefferson, Plata, and Albert,” Petke said in his postgame press conference. “He can drop back in there and combine. He is a tireless worker”
Luis Silva didn’t shy away from the ball, taking from his midfield instincts. The RSL forward buzzed around the Rio Tinto Stadium pitch and played one-two combinations with those in support. He tracked back defensively to win the ball back. It’s no wonder why he was the first one to jump in on Plata’s goal celebration. Their hard work had paid off.
The UC-Santa Barbara product looked active in his fifth start of the season. Silva nearly opened his RSL account in the 21st minute when Savarino broke through the Union defense. The Venezuelan bounced off a Union defender and spotted Silva near the penalty spot. The chance tested goalkeeper Andre Blake.
But his best opportunity came in the 43rd minute when he received the ball 40 yards away from goal with Union defender Jack Elliot to beat. Silva turned him inside-and-out and rifled a curler to the top corner. Blake made his best save of the night.
“Luis is not a traditional number 9, but what that gives us is being able to come back and combine and open up space behind him,” Petke explained.
As Silva continues to gain confidence, he expects to see his name on the scoresheet. But for now, he’ll settle for the positive results.