- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
Since joining D.C. United last month, Luis Silva has been adamant about his role. He’s a playmaker. Not a striker. Not a winger. A playmaker.
But that wasn’t always the case. As a boy growing up in Southern California, Silva actually developed an affinity for pulling on the gloves and standing between the posts. For a while, he would play half of each game at goalkeeper and half at forward.
It wasn’t until he was 14 or 15 years old that Silva was finally deployed as an attacking midfielder for a team coached by his uncle.
“Ever since then,” Silva said, “I never played any other position.”
Silva immediately fell in love with the spot. He studied the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Zinedine Zidane, hoping to replicate their movements and creativity. He enjoyed being the man an attack flows through, relishing every opportunity to have the ball at his feet.
In just four games with United, Silva has shown what he’s capable of as a playmaker. With three goals and an assist, he’s already the leading scorer for a 3-17-4 D.C. squad — handsomely rewarding coach Ben Olsen’s decision to let the 24-year-old newcomer run the show in a free-flowing position.
“That builds my confidence a lot,” Silva said. “The coach has been talking to me a lot about that role specifically, giving me that freedom to come back in the middle, to go back up top and just make things happen offensively.”
In recent matches, Silva has developed a shrewd relationship with United captain Dwayne De Rosario. While Silva and the 35-year-old former MVP initially appeared to be competing for one spot, Olsen has found success using both players simultaneously.
“It takes time, but they’re both good soccer players and they both have abstract ideas up there,” Olsen said. “It’s only going to get better, and for the limited time they’ve spent up there together, I’ve been happy with it.”
Although De Rosario on paper plays as the lone forward above Silva, the veteran does drop into midfield from time to time. At that point, Silva knows it’s his responsibility to move higher up the field and fill the void up top.
It’s an interchange-heavy partnership that has been surprisingly effective given how little time the players have had to learn each other’s tendencies.
“The game and the plays dictate that, and I think we both have a good understanding of where we need to be,” De Rosario said. “That kind of understanding without really rehearsing it is good.”
Silva at RFK Stadium on Saturday will have a chance to face Toronto (4-12-8) for the first time since the trade. After being picked fourth overall out of UC Santa Barbara in the 2012 draft, Silva played forward and wide midfield under coaches Aron Winter, Paul Mariner and Ryan Nelsen but never felt like he got a chance to be a true playmaker.
He doesn’t carry any resentment toward the club that gave him his professional start. Yet he’s certainly happy with the change scenery.
“I thank them for everything they did, drafting me, welcoming me to Toronto and all,” Silva said. “Obviously I had three different coaches and that can be a little tough — different systems, they want to play different positions. You just had to get used to it if you wanted to be on the field. But overall, it was good.
“I feel happy here in D.C. I think they use me differently. They use me to my potential.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
- United, D.C. hope this new stadium plan will be the last
- Jared Jeffrey returns to U.S. in search of playing time after European tour
- Sonny Silooy's career has evolved from standout defender to standout talent developer
- Alain Rochat adjusts to D.C. United move with growing family on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
- Jason Levien, Ben Olsen discuss D.C. United's $300M stadium plan
- Conor Doyle loan continues D.C. United youth movement
- Ben Olsen discusses trading Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake
- Interview outtakes: Sonny Silooy
- Hello Luis Silva, Collin Martin, goodbye Alain Rochat: Breaking down D.C. United's busy day
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow