Like Bill Hamid in the back half of D.C. United's starting 11, Luis Silva was a veteran from the 2013 campaign who managed to bolster his own performance with some battle tested and capable MLS talents with him. Silva managed to more than double his previous season-high of goals, scoring 11, tying him with Fabian Espindola for the team lead.
Impressive enough (considering he scored as many goals as Espindola despite playing in 75% of the minutes Fabi did), but even more so was Silva's impact as a starter on the team's offensive output. Of the eight times D.C. scored 3 or more goals in 2014, Silva was a starter in seven of them (the eighth was as a sub), scoring eight goals and assisting on three others. Among those games included his first professional hat trick and a Goal of the Year nominee. Even more impressive was Silva's ratio of a goal per 138 minutes of play. His .65 goals per 90 minutes led the team (coincidentally, this tied him with presumed soon to be ex-Toronto FC Designated Player Jermain Defoe) and his ratio of a point per 102 minutes of play, all of which led the team (by comparison, Espindola clocked in at .47 goals per 90 minutes and a point per 106). No one else in Major League Soccer played more and had a better scoring chance percentage (at 28.2%) than Silva, followed closely by teammate Perry Kitchen at 27.8%. When Silva was in and starting, he was as hot as hot could be.
It is in that last sentence that there may be a small cause of concern. A white hot season for Silva was bookended by two injuries, the first being an ankle injury that shelved him for almost the entire month of April, the second being a hamstring injury in October that effectively ended his season and eventually the Black and Red bowed out similarly. Are the blips on the screen that is Luis Silva's health a cause of concern?
Espindola's place in the lineup seems certain, though D.C. will be attempting to have Silva, Chris Pontius and Chris Rolfe all return to health and play with one another while Espindola serves his six-game suspension to start the 2015 season. Silva's return to D.C. should be a near-unanimous accord. But does his health give you pause when deciding if he should start or not? If he starts, where on the field would you want him?