2018 wasn’t Marcelo Silva’s year, even though it sure seemed like it was supposed to me.
Silva signed in the middle of last year, and he was widely expected to be our full-time starting center back next to Justen Glad.
That’s mostly how it worked out, barring some injuries. But then 2018 rolled around, and he was suddenly dancing between in and out of contention. It was honestly a little jarring, given talk of off-field issues being the reason. Injuries played a role, too, certainly, but at times, they were used as a cover.
There are only so many times that you can hear about off-field problems before you just start to feel resigned to it. Talk mostly centered around contract issues, which, for a player that’s been at the club for about a year, isn’t what you’d like to hear.
And so it was that Marcelo Silva was largely out of contention at the most important time of the year. He started just once in August and just once in September. He then started in the playoffs, making it through one-and-a-half games before falling to injury. He did play in the biggest game of our 2018, a 3-2 win over LAFC.
It’s been a weird progression for Marcelo Silva. He very much feels like he could be a solid center back at this level. He could perhaps even be an exceptional one. But instead, we’ve seen a player that is too often in and out to really build continuity with his fellow defenders, and sometimes, that’s been of his own making.
What does the future hold for Marcelo Silva at Real Salt Lake? I wish I had a crystal ball, because I could see him leaving this offseason, and I could see him sticking around for a couple years. The volatility here is surprisingly high. I suspect it will in part depend on what happens with Justen Glad, who we’ve long speculated could go overseas at some point in his career.
But ultimately, with Marcelo Silva, we have a TAM-level player — read: starting MLS player — who is starting just over half the available matches. Is that the sort of thing that benefits Real Salt Lake? I don’t think so. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here, but I’m not banking on him staying around beyond 2019, if that.