SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A trio of UC Santa Barbara men's soccer alumni – Ismaila Jome, Luis Silva, and Chris Pontius – all started and played key roles for their respective MLS clubs last weekend, with Jome's Minnesota United FC pulling out a win and Silva's Real Salt Lake edging Pontius's Philadelphia Union 1-0.
Jome, a three-year starter at UCSB and the 2013 Big West Freshman of the Year, earned his first career MLS start this past Saturday, May 27, against Orlando City SC. With the winger's help, MNUFC was able to eke out a 1-0 victory.
Jome nearly gave his team a lead in 16th minute after drawing contact and going down in the box, but the referee didn't deem it a penalty. Jome has made four appearances for the Loons this year after making his MLS debut Apr. 29 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Though he didn't find the back of the net, former Gaucho standout Luis Silva was a constant threat for his Real Salt Lake side that topped the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
A three-time All-Big West First Teamer at UCSB, Silva started for the third straight game against the Union and registered a pair of Grade-A scoring opportunities, sending in a first-touch shot from eight yards out in the eighth minute, and then curling a shot to the far right post from about 25 yards out in the 43rd minute. Both efforts were stopped by Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake, with the latter stop earning the MLS Save of the Week award.
In the midst of his sixth professional season, the former Tigres and D.C. United midfielder has 14 appearances and five starts this year for RSL.
Featuring on the same pitch as Silva was Pontius, a former standout forward for UCSB. Though he didn't find paydirt against Real Salt Lake, Pontius has been a consistent starter in his eighth year in the MLS with 12 starts over the Union's first 13 games of the year. A 2008 MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, Pontius has a team-high six assists this year.
UCSB's fourth alumnus currently in the MLS ranks, Montreal Impact forward Nick DePuy, made his professional debut on Mar. 4 as a substitute.
DePuy was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, becoming the first Gaucho to be chosen in the first round since Silva went No. 4 overall to Toronto FC in 2012, the highest draft pick in UCSB history. Pontius was the No. 7 overall selection in the 2009 SuperDraft.