Following up on the tails of a holiday weekend - and the Club’s first win in just about as long as anyone can remember - the Vancouver Whitecaps made some serious waves on Tuesday morning. Not only did the Club formalize the loan of Michaell Chirinos, but they also parted ways with one of the most divisive players in recent memory. In a rather out-of-the-blue trade, the Whitecaps shipped midfielder Felipe Martins to DC United in exchange for 75K in TAM as well as an international roster spot in 2020. While Felipe’s on field production was from its inception a source of debate within the Whitecaps fan base, there are two things that can never be questioned: his genuine kindness with all those that he met, and his intense passion and dedication to his craft. Felipe never failed to provide thoughtful and insightful soundbites and was always good for a joke or two as well. While Felipe’s tenure was marred by inconsistency, I think there’s little doubt that the Brazilian midfielder is the kind of person and leader that you want around your football club. At the end of the day, this trade was likely the best option for both the player and the Club, so here’s to wishing Felipe all the best at DC United from us a 86Forever.
Following training Tuesday morning, Felipe reflected on his time in Vancouver, and graciously thanked those who’ve supported him over his two seasons on the West Coast:
“First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you guys, every single fan that came to support us, the whole organization, who gave me the opportunity to play here. I think I go with the knowledge that every single day I gave my all. You obviously don’t always get to do what you want to do. But that’s football and that’s life...I want to thank Marc for everything he has done for me and I think he’s doing a great job for this Club moving forward. You guys should be excited. You guys should look at the long term. I think this move makes sense for them, and gives me the opportunity to play for a great club as well.”
Felipe also touched on the prospect of returning to Vancouver in just two weeks time, and what that match will mean to him, as well as the Whitecaps Supporters:
“It will be a proper goodbye for them, but from this day on, I’m a DC United player, I’m going to come back here with the same intensity, if not more so, to give my all...I get to leave on a positive note with my first goal of this year. I think you’re always going to be judged by your last game. So I think fans are going to be happy for the game I gave a game-winner.”
Lastly, Felipe turned his focus towards joining DC United, as the MLS veteran looked forward to hitting the ground running at his new club:
“I’m excited to get there tonight. I’ve talked to the team already. I gave them my word they won’t regret this move. I’m going to arrive there fully excited to get to work and on Sunday against LA Galaxy.”
Vancouver Whitecaps Head Coach Marc Dos Santos also commented on Felipe’s departure Tuesday morning, and provided some insights regarding how the deal took shape as quickly as it did:
“It was a hard decision, because he trains well and he has a good mentality. He was very honest all the time with his work. We need a certain type of different profile in the midfield that is very specific for us. And we knew we wouldn’t be able to make that move now. But we know we could possibly make a good move in January 2020. So when you’re looking at the big picture, somebody had to move. It happened very fast. When the opportunity came with DC, we said, okay, it’s going to hurt the club today, but for the big picture and looking at what we want to build, it’s the right decision. But it was very hard because I like and appreciate Felipe a lot....We wanted to open a space for next year, and the opportunity happened to come up now. We didn’t want to wait until January and take that risk, then maybe we would have had the same midfield and not been able to find a different profile of midfielder.”
With Felipe headed out the door, the Whitecaps look set to face an even larger gulf in their midfield over the remainder of the MLS season. Without an abundance of pure central midfielders on the roster, it seems likely that some of the heavy lifting could be passed to youngsters Michael Baldisimo and David Norman Jr, so long as Dos Santos deems the rookies ready for MLS action.
What do you envision the Whitecaps midfield looking like over the remainder of the season, and how does this effect Jon Erice’s status with the club? Most importantly, how do you feel about saying goodbye to Felipe?