TUKWILA — With a wife and two dogs living in Utah, the decision to join the Sounders FC was easy for Luis Silva.
“It’s just a two-hour flight,” said Silva of the proximity to his Salt Lake City home from Seattle.
The MLS veteran signed with the Sounders on Wednesday, about three days after getting word in Finland that the U.S. club was interested in adding him to its loaded roster.
Silva, 30, was able to terminate his contract with FC Honka, a first-division Finnish team, and hop an approximate 10-hour flight to Seattle to join the Sounders.
Despite jetlag, Silva was part of training at the club’s Starfire Sports facility on Friday. The earliest the forward could be available for selection is on the road next week against his former MLS team, Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders (11-7-5) host New England Revolution (9-9-6) on Saturday at CenturyLink Field at 1 p.m.
“Seattle was always one of my favorite places to play at because of the fan base; they always show up and are always supporting their team,” said Silva, a native Californian. “Now that I’m a part of it, it feels really special. I’m ready to go out there and help the team out.”
Silva joined midfielder Emanuel Cecchini as the Sounders’ roster moves before the close of the secondary transfer window Wednesday.
A season-ending knee injury to forward Will Bruin and concussion to striker Raul Ruidiaz make Silva desirable for Saturday. Cecchini, who trained for a second day with the team Friday, is versatile throughout the midfield, which could plug possible holes due to injuries to midfielder Gustav Svensson (hamstring) or creative lineup changes if winger Victor Rodriguez (hamstring) and fullback Brad Smith (adductor) aren’t available against the Revolution. Defender Kelvin Leerdam (ankle) is also questionable for selection Saturday.
But Silva isn’t available until he receives his International Transfer Certificate. Cecchini, a 22-year-old Argentine, is waiting for receipt of his P-1 Visa and ITC.
“If I could play (Saturday), I would lace up the boots,” said Silva, who scored 32 goals in six MLS seasons. The last stop was RSL in 2018. He also suited up with Sounders keeper Stefan Frei in Toronto and played for D.C. United.
“I’ve been here (MLS) for a while and know how the teams play, so I can definitely bring that scoring mentality,” Silva said “But I’m always looking for the best option — to pass, to assist my teammates and make other people look better. Hopefully that shows in the games in the next weeks.”
The Sounders are in a three-way tie with Minnesota and San Jose for second in the Western Conference with 38 points. The LA Galaxy are close behind with 37 points while LAFC will likely win the Supporter’s Shield with a MLS-leading 52 points.
Seattle has to snap a two-game losing bump at home to remain a challenger for the rights to homefield advantage through the quarterfinals. And the Sounders have to get back to scoring early.
The club hasn’t scored a first-half goal since Ruidiaz’s shot in the 19th minute of a win against Orlando City SC at CenturyLink Field in May.
“It’s frustrating,” said Sounders forward Jordan Morris, who’s scored the team’s last three goals. “Coming out on the front foot (Saturday) is important. Coming out and having a better start than the last few games and getting a first-half goal, that’s what we need to focus on to get on top of New England.”