By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — If you were to ask MLS coaches which players at this year's combine helped their cause the most, Luis Silva would surely be among the more common names mentioned.
The Mexican-born attacking midfielder from UCSB was one of the brightest spots at the combine, showing the playmaking ability that his him considered a top prospect. He put together three strong performances during the event, serving as a key cog for adiPower (red), the only undefeated team in this edition of the combine.
It is that string of outings, as well as his four years with the Gauchos in which he scored 28 goals and had 23 assists, that will all but ensure he is taken in the first round of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, Missouri.
"It still hasn't hit me," said Silva. "I'm pretty sure when I"m putting my suit on, I'm going to get butterflies in my stomach, start feeling nervous and anxious. It hasn't hit me. I'm really excited for it, looking forward to it."
A semifinalist for the 2011 Hermann Trophy, Silva has no preferred destination in terms of his first professional club, even though he has fond, childhood memories of one specific club.
Which club? The Los Angeles Galaxy.
"When I was a kid, when they were at the Rose Bowl, I used to go there when they used to have the shootouts and all that stuff," said Silva, whose family moved to Los Angeles when he was not even two-years-old. "Then I stopped going for a little, but I remember when I was seven, eight, nine, I used to go to their games."
Another club Silva has a past with is Chivas USA. Silva played two seasons with Chivas USA's Under-19 team before joining UCSB in 2008.
Whether it is Los Angeles, Chivas USA or another club that selects him, Silva will be in Kansas City on Thursday to watch the proceedings unfold. He will be accompanied by his uncle, whom he shares a close relationship with, as they find out where Silva's professional career will begin (Silva's mother could not attend due to work obligations).
Silva, who has the best size for an attacking midfielder in this class at 5-foot-11 and 163 pounds, is convinced adiPower's performance will benefit all the players on it.
It should. The team went undefeated with three wins in as many games, and it scored nine goals while only allowing four.
"Even though we went all out for two games, I think the pace slowed down a little bit more," said Silva of his team's 4-1 win over adiPure (white) on Thursday afternoon. "Our team started knocking the ball better, moving and playing for each other, so it made everything easier."
Silva was a vital part in making that happen. With his nice touch and good vision, he constantly put teammates in good positions and helped jumpstart attacks. His best two outings came on Day 1 and Day 3, and it might not be a coincidence that adiPower enjoyed its best offensive outputs on those days.
"There's a few (teams) interested in me, but it's the draft, anything can happen," said Silva. "I'm not keeping my hopes up."
His hopes might not be up, but thanks to a strong combine, his stock is as high as it has ever been.