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What the Marcelo Silva signing means for RSL

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RSL’s center back signing brings up some important questions.

Barcelona v UD Almeria - La Liga Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake’s latest signing, Marcelo Silva, joins the club with a wealth of experience in Spain, and he seems like he could be the real deal.

But honestly? We don’t know that yet. If you’ve watched him play, you’re one step ahead of me. He doesn’t have one of those agents that puts together endless techno-inflected highlight videos, and he doesn’t seem to be too driven by personal brand or any of that nonsense. Which is great, really. We don’t need a highlight reel center back; we need an actual one.

But that does leave us in a tricky position, given we know basically nothing about our new signing that you can’t glean from a stat sheet. We can, however, talk about the implications of his signing, what we know, and what we just can’t wait to find out.

What’s it mean for the center backs?

Real Salt Lake now has a whole slew of center backs on the roster:

  • Marcelo Silva
  • Justen Glad
  • David Horst
  • Aaron Maund
  • Chris Schuler
  • Justin Schmidt

Unless you’re going to play three at the back, that’s more center backs than you need (and certainly more than you could shake a stick at.) I suspect one of these guys will no longer be with Real Salt Lake before too long — but then again, I could be completely wrong about this. (Here’s a hint: The first two names aren’t going anywhere this season. I hope.)

What did it cost?

It cost us no money for his contract, given he was a free agent. However, we did use targeted allocation money to sign him, so we know that between various fees and his salary, he’d be a designated player. That allocation, of course, keeps him out of that zone.

Does he start immediately?

Heavens, yes. There’s no reason to not start him immediately. We’ve been poor defensively (and in other areas!) and he could be an answer. Will he be the answer immediately? Probably not, but you know, I would have said exactly the same thing about Jefferson Savarino. If we’ve brought over a player who’s adaptable, maybe I get to eat my tasty, tasty words.

Do we make a trade soon?

Actually, I think so — but not because of the Marcelo Silva move. Rather, it would be because we want to make a second move, and at this point, we have hit the maximum number of senior roster players with 20.

So... who?

Don’t ask me. I don’t know. But if you look at the center back options, Aaron Maund and Chris Schuler could be on the chopping block. Justin Schmidt could find himself a loan option. Justen Glad could get a big-money move to Europe or something. (Please, no. I’m not ready.) Or I could be misreading everything, and we’d just move another player from elsewhere if we make that change.

Tell me more about Marcelo Silva.

That’s not a question, but let’s move past that.

First, know that WhoScored doesn’t keep stats for the Spanish Segunda División. They also think he’s a left back, which doesn’t fit with anything we know about him — which is that he’s a center back. Basically every other source agrees with the center back assessment, including Real Salt Lake. Moving on.

Really, he’s a mystery of a player. There are some interviews on YouTube in Spanish, if you’d like to watch those. But highlights? Good luck. Here are a few we’ve found.

Here’s a red for leading with an elbow on a header.

Here’s a video of him receiving a red card for who-knows-what.

So... what does it mean, anyway?

Given he’s been brought in with allocation money and at a reasonably high salary (presumably, at least), we can assume that Silva has been brought in as a starting player. Will he make an immediate difference? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how the rest of the RSL squad responds to this. He can’t fix everything by simply standing there and looking handsome. It just doesn’t work that way.