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Silva adjusts to life with United, wishes Toronto the best

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The Canadian Press
7/11/2013 9:59:55 AM
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It was like any other day for Luis Silva. The Toronto FC midfielder had got his ankles taped and was getting ready for practice Tuesday when he was called up to manager Ryan Nelsen's office.

"He told me D.C. (United) made an offer and I was getting traded," the 24-year-old Silva said. "An hour later, D.C. called me and I had to get on a plane at 5:20 (p.m.)."

Such is the world of pro sports. Seventeen hours later, Silva was training with his new team.

"I was surprised as everyone else," Silva said Wednesday of the trade. "I'm still a little shocked."

Taken by Toronto fourth overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Silva quickly worked himself in the lineup and went on to make 44 first-team league appearances in a season and a half.

The five-foot-11, 170-pounder had five goals and five assists as a rookie, with two assists in 14 games this season.

Toronto received allocation money in exchange for Silva, possibly opening up the way for more signings. Silva's US$105,400 salary --it could be more if the team used allocation money to pay down his wages -- also comes off the TFC books.

"We really like Luis, he's been great for Toronto," Nelsen said Wednesday. "It was a really tough decision to make."

Nelsen says the club may be able to sign two players, using the money cleared by Silva's departure. And he was blunt about the California native's future with the club.

"Would Luis be starting once we bring these players in? I'm not sure." said Nelsen. "His cap space gives us the potential to bring in two starters. So it's two starters over a potential player who might be on the bench."

Nelson also pointed to the likes of Jonathan Osorio and Reggie Lambe as midfield options.

"I feel awkward about it because I really like Luis," said Nelsen. "But in the end it's an unfortunate business and it's cap room that gives us potentially two starters."

Reached in Washington, Silva was classy about his departure, thanking Toronto FC and its fans for their support.

"It was an honour to be part of that organization," he said.

"Everyone was great to me," he added. "I just have nothing but positive things to say about them."

Silva said he believes his play was more consistent this season, despite the lack of goals. And while he said he was happy to play anywhere, he believes attacking midfielder is his best position.

Toronto used him in a variety of roles, from midfield to striker, depending on need.

The trade sends him from a 2-8-7 team to a 2-13-4 club.

"I just have to look forward, move on," he said. "D.C.'s my new team."

"I'm just going to stick to my football," he added. "I know the coach knows I'm a decent player and I can hold my ground. Obviously, I have a lot to improve and that's what I'm going to do here."

Luis Silva Eric Hassli (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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