After Liga MX adventure, Luis Silva eager to shine on Real Salt Lake return

Luis Silva - in Real Salt Lake training gear after returning to the club - 2017

Luis Silva took what he felt was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up when he left Real Salt Lake after the 2015 season for Tigres UANL of Liga MX.

After being traded to RSL from DC United in midseason, Silva leaped at the opportunity to join the Copa Libertadores runners-up and Liga MX Apertura champions in December 2015.

“I thought it was great. I landed in a great city,” Silva said of his time in Mexico. “I learned a lot from great players.”

While the culture and his teammates may have been a good experience, Silva didn’t find his way into the 18-man gameday roster, much less the starting 11, very often. He played in two games, starting one; both games were in the CONCACAF Champions League.

After starting in more than 100 games in his five seasons in MLS, the lack of playing time in Mexico became a problem for Silva.

“The difference would be, for me, I thought I fit well in the league. In training, I fit well and played well. Unfortunately, finding playing time was tough for me,” Silva said.

While others have made the jump from MLS to starting in Liga MX, those opportunities aren’t the norm, as Silva discovered. Meanwhile, Tigres rolled to their second league title in as many years with a triumph in the 2016 Apertura.

After Liga MX adventure, Luis Silva eager to shine on Real Salt Lake return -

“The confidence of the coach gives you the confidence to do fine,” Silva said. “There are a lot of players who aren’t as good and the coach has confidence in them and plays them over and over.”

Earning the confidence from Tigres boss Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti was a struggle for Silva. He believes it’s probably pretty similar for other MLS players who make the switch to Liga MX.

The Farfan brothers, Michael and Gabriel, played in 15 games combined in parts of four seasons before returning to MLS and the NASL. Luis Gil managed only 10 games in his first season at Queretaro and Silva’s current RSL teammate Sebastian Saucedo played in just four games during his loan to Veracruz last season.

Of course, there have been some successes. Jorge Villafana won a place in the lineup at Santos Laguna after leaving the Portland Timbers for Mexico in 2015, though his minutes have decreased of late. Former LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez has played in 43 games the past two seasons for Pachuca as well.

“Players go and are unlucky, they didn’t get the opportunity,” Silva said. “Villafana got the opportunity and he’s doing well. He got the opportunity and took advantage of it.

“There’s been a few players that have been successful, but they have been given the opportunity that I would have wanted and I’m sure the Farfans would have wanted.”

His Mexican adventure didn’t turn out as planned. But so far his return to MLS has gone smoothly.

“I always thought I would come back to RSL,” Silva said. “It worked out perfectly, I think. I’m very excited to be here, to start playing and to help the team as much as possible.”