Photo: Earl Gardner
Editor’s note: At the end of the first two Philadelphia Union seasons, we posted a series of end of the season reviews of every Union player. Over the next several weeks, PSP continues with a review of the 2012 season.
Brought in by the Peter Nowak-Diego Gutierez tandem to add depth to the striking corps, the 22-year-old Costa Rican never settled into the team and was an inconsistent contributor in 2012. He arrived with the tags “raw” and “unproven” and it was expected a change in scenery and some discipline would do the youngster good. But when Nowak was fired (with Gutierez soon after), and John Hackworth preferring Jack McInerney and Antoine Hoppenot, Martinez’ opportunities became limited.
Martinez did have chances to make his mark though. Even though he only started six games, he featured in 18 matches over the course of the season. But even as a substitute running at tired defenders, the young forward never seemed to find the same page as the rest of the Union offense and finished the season with only one goal in league play.
With a young striking corps that includes McInerney, Hoppenot, Chandler Hoffman, Danny Cruz, it’s hard to see exactly how Martinez fits into John Hackworth’s 2013 Philadelphia Union.
Is it the lone goal he scored this season? He was in the right place at the right time to poke home against Houston in September. He knew little about the Amobi Okugo shot that fell at his feet but at least had the wherewithal to stuff the ball home from close range. He also had some good efforts in reserve league games.
It’s hard to pick a particularly poor game from Martinez, but you could say every substitute appearance was sub-par. Even in the Houston game where he picked up his lone goal of the season he squandered multiple other chances before finding a bit of a luck. When Antoine Hoppenot entered the fray, he was a presence, but Martinez introduction rarely gave opposing defenses reason to sweat.
Potential. I’m going with Adam’s quote from our midseason player ratings, “Is there a special closet at PPL where the Union keep Martinez’s potential? He sure has a lot of it but it seems like it’s in storage.”
Chemistry. Effort. Technical ability. Martinez was disappointing in almost every facet this season. Some have argued that he was never given the run of games needed to assess his true ability, but in the games that he did start or when he came on as a sub, his effort was underwhelming and he did almost nothing to stake a claim for more playing time. When he did get chances in front of goal, he lacked the vital touch to put the ball into the net. But it was the lack of chemistry with any other Union offensive player that should have the young Costa Rican considering whether his future lies in Philadelphia.
Martinez is still only 22, so it’s hard to say that the Union should give up on him after just one season. But with a stable full of young strikers and with Union coach John Hackworth admitting he’s looking to find a veteran offensive threat, it’s hard to see where Martinez factors into the Union plan. A mutual parting of the ways might end up being best for both club and player.
Stat chart legend:
POS: Position; GP: Games Played; GS: Games Started; MINS: Minutes; PA: Passes Attempted; PC: Passes Completed; P%: Passing Accuracy Percentage; G: Goals; A: Assists; SOG: Shots on Goal; SOG/S%: Percentage of Shots that are on Goal; G/SOG%: Percentage of Shots on Goal Converted; SC%: Scoring Percentage; G/90min: Goals per 90 minutes; Hm G: Home Goals; Rd G: Road Goals; FC: Fouls Committed; FS: Fouls Suffered; YC: Yellow Cards; RC: Red Cards