Toronto rookie Silva moves forward with big shoes to fill
TORONTO – Rookie midfielder Luis Silva will move forward to fill a big vacancy Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online) as life without Danny Koevermans begins for Toronto FC.
Silva, who has scored two goals in the past two games, is expected to team with Ryan Johnson up front as Koevermans awaits season-ending surgery after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at New England.
GOAL: Silva finishes off fine move
“He was doing everything he possibly could to get the team up the table,” head coach Paul Mariner said Tuesday after training at Downsview Park. “I'm not going to say we're not devastated about it. He's a great guy.”
Mariner said he does not expect Koevermans, who had nine goals in 16 league games this season, back until May 2013, meaning bolstering the attacking corps has now joined the search for defensive leadership amongst the Reds' priorities as they seek midseason help.
“We’ve got to be looking at the forward position as well, we’re a little thin,” Mariner said. “Fortunately, Luis is coming through a really rich vein of form. He’s scoring goals and maybe could have had more than one in each game. It’s the same old story in football, somebody goes down and it’s somebody else’s opportunity.”
Silva has scored both his goals in league play this season in the past two games, including the winner against the Revolution on an assist from Koevermans. He scored his first goal as a professional on March 7 against the LA Galaxy in a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
“It's really unfortunate, he was doing so well for us throughout these last games,” Silva said. “And obviously he was scoring and that's what we need. I’m going to try and step in there and obviously play a different role and try to help the team as much as I can by scoring, assisting, defending, anything.”
When Koevermans was injured late in the first half at Gillette Stadium, forward Andrew Wiedeman came on as a substitute. But it appears as though Wiedeman, who joined Toronto on Friday in the trade that sent midfielder Julian de Guzman to FC Dallas, will once again begin Wednesday’s game as a substitute.
“When Danny went down on Saturday, I don’t want to disrupt the team with too many changes,” Mariner said. “Andrew can play it through the middle and he can play it wide. What happened on Saturday was ideal because he played it through the middle and he played out wide.”
“Obviously no one is going to fill Danny’s shoes,” Wiedeman said. “He’s a great player and it’s a huge loss for us. At the same time it opens up a spot for other guys to step in and hopefully take advantage of the opportunity. So I’m going to go out and work hard and work for the team and do whatever I can to help us get results.”