TORONTO – The LA Galaxy and Luis Silva meet again on Saturday.
In one way or another, the Galaxy have always been part of the 23-year-old’s soccer life – as a small child, the Los Angeles native grew up as a Galaxy fan.
And after being drafted by Toronto FC in January out of UC Santa Barbara, he started his first professional game against the Galaxy and promptly scored his first goal for the Reds.
Now, he will play against them again Saturday when Toronto FC visit the Home Depot Center for the only league meeting between the teams this season (10:30 pm ET, TSN/RDS2 in Canada, MLS Live in the USA).
“Obviously it’s going back home for me so it’s really special for me to go back and be able to see some folks,” Silva said on Thursday before the team departed for Los Angeles.
Silva was part of what turned out to be Toronto’s finest moment in a disappointing season, when they scored a 4-3 aggregate upset over the Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals in March.
He started the opening leg on March 7 and scored Toronto’s second goal in the first half of a 2-2 draw before a sellout crowd at Rogers Centre, a goal that meant the world to him.
“When I was really young, I was a Galaxy fan,” Silva said. “I used to go to their games when Kevin Hartman was there and Cobi Jones, all those all-star players. To start in the first game against the Galaxy for me was something really big.”
He entered the second leg as a substitute at the Home Depot Center just before Nick Soolsma scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory.
With striker Eric Hassli out for Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, Silva could be prominent up front one more against his former team, although Reds head coach Paul Mariner was not about to share his plans.
Silva’s normal position is as an attacking midfielder but he has seen plenty of time this season at forward, with injuries to Danny Koevermans and Hassli keeping him closer to the opposition goal.
“For me, it doesn’t matter, but I like either or,” Silva said. “Obviously playing behind Eric Hassli makes my job easier because he’s big guy, he can hold the ball. And for me that’s my main position but anywhere the team needs help I’m willing to go in there.”
And to score another goal against the Galaxy would be all that much sweeter.
“Now that I’m in Toronto, obviously, I’m a Toronto FC fan,” he said. “I have a lot of love for the Galaxy, I’ve been watching them since I was a kid.”