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Toronto FC 2013 Top 36 Countdown: Number 16 - Luis Silva

A bit of a disappointment this season on the pitch, but what? We traded him? What? At number 16, it's Luis Silva.

Unsurprisingly, this didn't go in. And hey, it's Aaron Maund.
Unsurprisingly, this didn't go in. And hey, it's Aaron Maund.

Average Ranking: 17
Highest Ranking: 6
Lowest Ranking: 30

Duncan: 24 There's been plenty of disappointing seasons on the pitch, or disappointing endings to TFC careers that we've catalogued so far in this countdown, but this one might be the worst in both categories.

After a strong first season at TFC, fans expected Silva to be one of the few bright spots this season. Midfield and where the creativity might come from was a big question mark throughout preseason. Silva missed the first few games of the season through a hamstring injury, and Bostock and Ephraim quickly proved themselves not really up to the task of making the 4-2-3-1 formation Nelsen started the season with work. Silva made his debut as a sub against L.A in the 4th game of the season, and set up a goal for Jonathan Osorio. Promising enough and he came on as a second half sub for the game against Dallas, helping TFC come back from 2-0 down to 2-2.

He got his first start in the next game against Houston, but he never really got the chance to play where most would think he'd be a natural fit, in the middle of the attacking trio of midfielders, tucked in behind the strikers. Instead Nelsen switched to a 4-4-2, Justin Braun in alongside Earnshaw, and thus began three frustrating months where Silva just never really seemed to fit in and never got going like we saw he could in 2012. He played that game against Houston alongside Jeremy Hall in the DM spots, but still managed to look good and get involved with the attack.

He also saw time on the left of midfield and also up front alongside Braun, Earnshaw or Brockie as Nelsen continued with his 'throw shit at the wall and see if it sticks' approach to getting some consistent attacking play. There were certainly still some moments of skill from Silva, but when it came to scoring goals, it seemed like something was off, he was nowhere near as sharp and clinical as he'd been the previous year.

See it here against Houston as he uses some great skill to create the chance for himself, then puts it well wide. Or here against Columbus where he get a decent if tough chance and turns it into a really ugly shot that goes wide. The lack of sharpness or confidence perhaps was best shown off in the chance early in the home game against Philadelphia. A fantastic move full of clever first touches and well worked angles sets him free behind the defence heading towards the left edge of the box, with defenders desperately coming in form the right side. Instead of charging at that space and getting a shot off, he instead cuts in towards the right, runs into those defenders and the chance is gone.

It summed up his season well, still looking good at moments, showing his skill, but it just not quite coming together for him.

It was still a massive surprise though when it was announced on July 9th that he'd been traded away to DC United for allocation money, the given explanation from Kevin Payne being the following:

"Luis Silva is a fine player and an outstanding young man and this was a tough decision. But we are bringing in new attacking talent this window and Luis' playing time would likely suffer. This move helps give us more flexibility now and for the future. We wish Luis nothing but the best."

Yeah, that worked out well, might be best to get that attacking talent before making trades. Now we obviously don't know exactly how much allocation money we got so it's difficult to judge fully, but I still can't really understand it. Yes at the time Silva wasn't playing all that well and didn't really seem to have a natural place in the formation being used at the time. But for a rebuilding team, is trading away a good young player who did very well the previous season, who might adapt to the formation, or who might be just the piece that TFC needs if and when they change the formation in the future really a good idea? Who knows what might have happened if Nelsen had kept going with the 4-2-3-1 and given Silva a few games in the number 10 spot behind the striker? Or what might have happened if Silva had been around tom play alongside Bright Dike who would have been a more effective strike partner than anyone Silva lined up alongside. There's definitely debate to be had on the overall success or not of Kevin Payne's tenure and the wisdom of the path he tried to take TFC down, but this is one move that just doesn't make any sense at all.

Silva did of course immediately start doing much better at DC, played in an attacking midfield position, he scored in each of his first 3 games. He came very close to scoring against TFC, having a spectacular shot saved by Joe Bendik, but I can't help but think this is going to be another of those transfers that comes back to directly bite TFC again and again over the years.

Dave: 13. I miss Silva already, heck I missed him the minute that he left the club in that stupid, confusing trade. He was not really doing much to build on his strong debut season and may even have taken a step or two back but he was still one of the better players on the roster early in the season. I have no more to say about him otherwise I will just get sad.

Armen: 16. Talented young player who showed Toronto FC just how a midfielder should play….but did so in D.C. black. Whoops!

James: 17. Too inconsistent, never strung together good matches until he left for DC and then it felt like revenge before losing interest once more - short flashes and then long absences - TFC may well regret selling so cheaply.

Kristin: 20. One of the most mystifying players (and player trades) this season. After a great rookie season Silva rarely looked like he knew what he was doing this season. He had occasional flashes of 2012 but more often looked tentative, was easily muscled off the ball and seemed afraid to shoot. However, it was a shocking move to send him to DC; especially as the vaunted summer signings never appeared. He had a couple of good games when he first arrived in DC but has faded well into the background since. Sad.

a_miller16: Was injured to begin the year and took a while to get back up to speed, was then jettisoned to DC for a few pugg nets and extra shin pads. TFC will likely regret that

Bruce Harding. Shame Silva left but he wasn't really offering much anyway. Maybe it was the players around him.

David kent: Really went down hill,not motivated

Elusivecart: Good player but not used well by Nelsen

Ignirtoq: #Allocated

JD: I wasn't as upset as some when the trade happened. Silva showed promise, but it was starting to look like he just didn't have the drive / passion this season (I think TFC has a gift of beating it out of most players). That said, once I realized what it is we got in return for the trade (aka fuck all), I joined the ranks of those questioning the infinite wisdom of our esteemed front office.

Josh Mote: I don't wanna talk about it.

Mark_HSV: A stupid, stupid trade to get rid of last year's bright light. Why bother drafting players at all? Should have gotten a chance and will probably score many goals against TFC in the future.

Michaelvee: The Silva trade puzzles me still. We pawned him off for, apparently, a bag of balls and to make space for brilliant attacking players. Who never arrived. He went on to be D.C.'s leading scorer, and to tie Darel Russell in the Golden Boot race.

Prizby: little ticked off we gave him away for a sack of soccer balls a la Sam Cronin, but I don't think Ryan Nelsen's system was a match for Silva's skill sets; it was quite glaringly obvious until he was traded; he fit a lot better at DC.

Red Wine Roz: Shaky start to this season, but we still should have kept him.

Robert Snider: This high(6) because it's a stupid move Payne made

Schtevetown: Still baffled by the trade. We claim to want solid MLS veterans and I have every reason to believe that he will become one.

The Yorkies: His transfer will be looked back on the same way Sam Cronin's is. What a waste.

Tyler: I'm not that sad to see Silva gone. I never saw him being as good as everyone thought he was. Maybe he was played out of position too often?

Yohan: Traded mid season to DC United, Silva just couldn't fit in Nelsen system which has no place for him as attacking midfielder, and he wasn't giving enough as second striker. I still think he's got the potential to be a good MLS player as a late bloomer, because he can make a pass and he's got decent finishing ability. Mentally, he needs to be tougher, and his stamina needs to grow, but he may be another ex TFC player that goes on to have a good MLS career in the future.

Number 15: Andrew Wiedeman

Number 17: Jeremy Brockie

Full Top 36 Countdown