Rookie Silva shines in Toronto FC turnaround

The 23-year-old Southern California native has stepped up offensively as TFC continues its run of positive results.
TORONTO - Toronto FC fans are finally starting to see the real Luis Silva.

That's the sentiment from TFC head coach Paul Mariner, who has shown increasing faith in the highly touted rookie since taking over the squad last month.

Silva has repaid his boss' confidence with some stellar play of late. Most recently, the 23-year-old dished off two assists as TFC came back from a goal down to defeat the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at BMO Field on Wednesday night. It was the Reds third victory in a row, and - not coincidentally - the third straight game in which Silva got himself on the scoresheet.

"I just try to help my team as much as I can and try to create space so they can play me the ball," Silva told "That's what I love to do - create opportunities - and luckily I've been able to do that right now. Guys are believing in me and playing me the ball more, so I'm just going to keep trying to produce for them."

Silva's recent play has come on the heels of a turbulent time for the first-year attacker. He lost his father last month, and on the same weekend was one of three Toronto players arrested in Houston in an incident outside a nightclub.

Unlike the other two players involved - Nick Soolsma has been released from his contract, and Miguel Aceval barely makes the gameday roster these days - Mariner stuck by the rookie, believing that Silva's talent would shine through.

And though fans are starting to see the results, Mariner still thinks Silva has much room to grow.

"As a coach, you're always looking for perfection," Mariner said of Silva's performance on Wednesday. "Sometimes these young players, when they get to the attacking third, they don't quite know the defenders are a little bit reticent to go and tackle them, and he was sort of losing the ball too much for my liking."

Constructive criticism aside, the coach explained why Silva has been getting the minutes he has lately, and why it's been paying off on the scoresheet.

"You can just see the qualities," Mariner said. "When he's in that final third of the field, he just freezes defenders, and he's got beautiful feet."

Silva has tallied two goals and two assists for Toronto FC in the past three matches.