The Black-and-Red had an uneventful week and a half off, that is until yesterday. The team elected to trade Luis Silva to Real Salt Late in exchange for Álvaro Saborío. While it’s sad to see the 26-year-old Silva depart, the 33-year-old forward will be reunited with Fabian Espindola. The duo scored 65 goals for Real Salt Lake in two seasons (2010-2012), United clearly hopes that reuniting that dynamite pairing will lead to goals for a team that struggles to get them, they’re ranked 16th in the league in goals per game (1.1).
Saborío won’t be in action tomorrow against FC Dallas as he’s filling his national team duties (Costa Rica) as they face Mexico in the Concacaf Gold Cup. He could make his debut the following week at home against the Union. The Costa Rican striker has scored 63 goals in 127 games during his six year career in the MLS, of those 127 games he started 112. He gives the Black-and-Red something they’ve sorely needed, a true goal scorer at the top of the formation.
“Certainly when you look at that partnership, it’s exciting” – United Head Coach Ben Olsen
One of the happiest and saddest players on the DC’s roster is Fabian Espindola, he and Silva were pretty close and said as much when asked about how he felt about Silva leaving, “it sucks. It’s great to have Sabo, but at the same time not good at all to lose Luis.” He and Silva shared the team lead in goal scoring last season with 11 a piece. It’s clear that he will miss Silva, but he seemed ecstatic about the chance to play with Sabo once again.
Getting another player up front with a “forward’s” mentality gives the Black-and-Red more options, but more importantly it lifts a burden off of Fabi. He has more assists than goals this year because he’s been using his talents to make plays for others with the attention opposing defenses have given him. Now, with “Sabo” in the fold, Fabi is now free to let his scoring instincts take over. “It’s going to be great, I’ll be playing how I want to play. I don’t have to be in the box all the time, the centre backs will be worried about him and I’ll be doing my thing on the wings, trying to assist him. Play how I want to play”. It’s clear that Espindola sees the reunion with Sabo as a chance to optimize his skill set, he’ll get to be even more annoying and cause more trouble for defenses as he won’t be stationary any more.
Markus Halsti also shared his thoughts on the addition of Saborío, ” I just checked the new guys stats and it’s pretty amazing.” He believes the pairing of Espindola and Saborío can cause “chaos” for opposing teams. Markus also talked about how the addition of another attack minded player up front will affect those in midfield. ” We have to feed them both so they can do what they’re best at. Then if they’re offensive, of course it’ll probably be a little more defending that the rest of us will have to do more work. So they can actually focus on what they’re really good at and that’s attacking.”
Silva does get a chance to play against his now former team sooner than later as the Black-and-Red host Real Salt Lake at RFK on August 1st. Real Salt Lake will be getting a dynamic player if Luis can regain a clean bill of health, that was the only negative during his time in D.C. He couldn’t seem to stay healthy this season. United is looking forward to getting both Espindola and Saborío out on the field together, the goal is for them to up that 1.1 goals per game average much sooner than later. That’s literally all they’ve been missing this season, that player in the attacking third that will finish that final pass with a shot, versus another pass. That services into the box are finished with a purpose rather than result in empty services.
The Black-and-Red hope that the Costa Rican striker can do just that, give their attack some teeth.