Sandy • Opportunity.
The term came up repeatedly following Real Salt Lake’s training session Tuesday morning.
Draws in two consecutive home games don’t qualify as a seized opportunity. But for Luis Silva, the matches helped him solidify his spot in the starting lineup.
The 28-year-old striker has been locked in a battle for playing time with designated player Yura Movsisyan for the past three months. Silva has gained the upper hand for now with four straight strong starts — three league matches and one exhibition.
“It’s not Yura, it’s anybody,” RSL coach Mike Petke said about winning playing time. “Opportunities come, and everybody will have an opportunity.
“Right now, we’re clicking on the offense. It’s not about one person specifically, it’s about what we feel is going to combine the best and get us a result and play the type of soccer that we want to play. And for the last month or so, Luis has been that guy to combine with these guys and draw attention away from others.”
Silva scored his first RSL goal in a 2-1 loss to Manchester United two weeks ago, then scored again in a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City days later.
He also logged his second assist of the season Saturday with a through ball to Jefferson Savarino for the go-ahead goal in RSL’s eventual 2-2 tie with Columbus Crew SC.
“They read each other so well, and he put him right in on goal,” Petke said. “It was perfect.”
Movsisyan missed the Manchester United friendly and RSL’s 4-1 win at Portland with a hip injury. He returned to play 12 minutes off the bench Saturday.
RSL center back Justen Glad, forward Brooks Lennon and midfielder Jose Hernandez joined the MLS Homegrown team in Illinois for its 2-2 draw against the Chivas de Guadalajara Under-20 team on Tuesday as part of the league’s All-Star festivities.
Glad and Lennon started, Glad at right back and Lennon at right midfield. They were subbed out at halftime and in the 61st minute, respectively. Hernandez entered the game in the 31st minute and played the remainder of the match.
“We have young players that are good, that are … going to prove — hopefully if they keep doing the right things — to be future stars in this league,” Petke said. ”But I think the Academy’s done a phenomenal job bringing them up, and now we’ve jumped all over them, signed them, and it’s on us to make them better.”
The MLS side, coached by Brian McBride and Mike Magee, was made up of 18 of the league’s most promising homegrown players.
“I think it’s a great learning opportunity for them to be under McBride and Magee,” RSL right back Tony Beltran said Tuesday morning. “When you play with other players in that kind of a situation, there’s a high learning curve, and so they’re going to have to adapt quickly.”
As RSL prepares for its last match of a three-game homestand — a contest that it is counting on for a boost in the standings before heading on the road — it does so without regular starter Glad and frequent contributor Lennon for a large chunk of this week’s practice.
“I wish I had my guys here this week, you know?” Petke said. “… But that’s the way it is. It’s a good opportunity for them, put them on showcase, and I’m happy for them.”