Rookie Silva settling in quickly with Toronto's 4-3-3

Rookie Silva settling in quickly with Toronto's 4-3-3

By Larry Millson,

TORONTO – Toronto FC's Luis Silva has started to make the adjustment to the professional level from the college game. And he feels that he is making progress.

"The first three days were a little bit tough," the Reds' first pick in the MLS SuperDraft said after training on Tuesday. "I've never played at this level, this high-level intensity."

Silva was taken with the fourth overall pick in the draft earlier this month after scoring 17 goals and adding 10 assists last season for UC Santa Barbara. And after a few days of training with the club at the Oakville Soccer Centre, he feels he is beginning to adjust.

"Now I think I'm doing fine," the 23-year-old Los Angeles native said. "I think today I did well, adjusting to the speed and the aggressiveness that players have. Coming from college, where it's not that fast, to a professional environment where everything is faster, you have to be sharper. And it's more physical – that's a big step."

Head coach and technical director Aron Winter likes what he has seen.

"He needs some time to adapt to the system, to adapt to MLS and to Toronto because it's a completely different city than from where he's from," Winter said after the team had returned to BMO Field from Oakville. "But I think that, with him, it's not going to take a lot of time to adapt. He's a good player. I like the way he is playing."

Silva knows he still has further to go in spite of his coach's praise, but also seems to grasp where improvements can be made.

"It's all becoming settled down," he said. "You've got to think a lot, you've got to think a lot on the field to see where you're at and know where your players are at and that kind of stuff; just little things to make things easier for yourself."

Silva is suited to the style that Toronto plays under Winter, specifically the 4-3-3 formation. It's a natural fit for a player who likes to keep the ball on the floor.

"This is a coach that likes to play with the ball on the ground, move it around and most important just play for each other," Silva said. "And I think I fit in well with that formation."

That, in part, is because Silva has some previous experience with the 4-3-3.

"At UCSB, we started playing like a 4-1-3-2, but we played different formations," Silva said. "We played the 4-3-3 before so I'm kind of familiar with and that helps a lot."

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