ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s a rare breed: an American who plays the No. 10 position and scores goals.
And with another two tallies on Thursday night against FC Dallas at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Toronto FC rookie Luis Silva has already positioned himself to be a starter for the Canadian side in 2012 at one of the most delicate positions on the field.
Couple the latest brace with his two goals in a preseason exhibition against the University of South Florida and his assist for Ryan Johnson last Tuesday night, and it’s no surprise that manager Aron Winter, who’s been around the block in European soccer, already speaks of Silva in glowing terms barely one month into his professional career.
“He’s a very good player but we thought that also after we drafted him in the beginning of January,” Winter told MLSsoccer.com after the win over a largely FC Dallas reserve side. “Luis is a player with a lot of skills and makes goals and he can make the difference. He’s adapting very quick.”
“The level of play is faster but I’m adapting pretty well to it,” Silva said. “I still need time to get my fitness going, but it’s a step at a time and I think I’m doing a good job for myself so far.”
Highlights: TOR 3, DAL 0
Fans on Twitter dubbed him “Quick-Silva” after his two goals in five minutes on Thursday night – “I don’t think I’m that quick, but I’ll take it for now,” quipped the 23-year-old – and he will have a chance to endear himself further to the TFC fan base on March 7 in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg vs. the LA Galaxy (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer).
Following the match, the club announced that “members of Toronto FC coaching staff and players will be heading back to Toronto on Friday to prepare for Wednesday March 7 vs. LA Galaxy.”
Expect Silva to be in that group after he made the following statement looking ahead to the CCL first leg despite the fact there’s a Disney Pro Soccer Classic final to be played against Vancouver on Saturday.
“Now we can start thinking about the Galaxy,” Silva said. “We had these games first and now we can start thinking about the Galaxy. Definitely it’s going to be a great opportunity if I get the playing time to do some work on that game and I’m looking forward to it.”
The match against LA will be special for Silva not just because of the stage and profile – a sold out Rogers Centre will host the first leg – but he has a past with the LA Galaxy. As a fan.
“Yeah, yeah. I was a Galaxy fan when I was a little kid,” admitted Silva. “But now I’m wearing a TFC shirt and I’m going to wear it proudly.”