One by one: Hello Martinez, Goodbye Nolly
HELLO:...And the parade continues. United has now added Gonzalo Martinez from Millonarios, and Dave Kasper provides us the resume:
Martìnez began his professional career in the Colombian First Division with Deportes Tolima in 1996 before moving to Italian Serie A side Udinese in 2001. Martinez made 24 appearances for Udinese from 2001-03 before joining Napoli on loan, where he spent part of the 2003 and 2004 campaigns. In the 2003-04 season, he moved to Reggina, where he made 14 appearances. The 5'10", 165-pound defender returned to his native Colombia and rejoined Deportes Tolima for the 2005 season, notching three goals in 21 appearances. Martìnez then moved to Olimpia, and later, Libertad, in 2005-2006 in Paraguay, where he started in a combined 27 games and helped Libertad capture the Paraguayan First Division championship. In 2007, Martìnez returned to Colombia and appeared in 36 games for Millonarios.
That's some pretty good teams, even if it was the Napoli Serie B years (I have a soft spot for Napoli that has something to do with Bruce Campbell starring in Army of Darkness (Evil Dead III). Just go with it.) And if you're going to be a defender learning to really craft your trade, I think Italian football is a great place to do it. The one question I have is with his pace as of today. I can't say that I've seen a lot of his recent work that really lets me know how fast he is, the only thing I can see is an age of 32, which is when people are slowing down. But I have no doubt the man understands his craft better than most in MLS, and for that alone I'm happy to have him on the team. If he's as fast as Dave Kasper says, if he has "tremendous pace," then that's a huge bonus for a number of reasons. Not only would it be speed in the middle of our defense (where, for so long, we have been very slow) it also sounds like Soehn could use Martinez on the outside back positions as well, providing at least another option if not actual depth.
What I like about the way this is unfolding is that it is somewhat clear that United have their ducks in a row - there was a plan, and it is being executed. Good. I may not know all the details behind the plan, but an examination of recent events makes it clear that after some frustration, the Front Office is now getting the players they identified.
GOODBYE: Jay Nolly, who was not getting a shot at the first string keeper position after the arrival of Mr. Wells, has signed with USL's Vancouver Whitecaps. Good for him. While Nolly may only be remembered for the 1-0 loss against the City Islanders in US Open Cup play, and the loss against Real Salt Lake where he made Robbie Findlay a star, he was a decent chap, having given us an interview when he first arrived in DC. I wish him well in Canada, and knowing the tendency of USL keepers to suddenly pop up again in MLS (Preston Burpo?) it would not surprise me if he got another shot at MLS player somewhere.
MINOR CORRECTION: I wrote yesterday that Jaime Moreno has not yet signed with D.C. United. BDR and Oscar chimed in to say that Goff has reported the Moreno deal is done for two years, overall worth more money but less money per year, and it's guaranteed. That's a good deal, and one I'm happy with. I was (and this falls under the category of perhaps "overly indulged fan") not pleased with Moreno at nearly 300K a year, but the idea of Moreno at half of that works just fine. Keep him in black. That being said, I want to see an official notice at D.C. United before I say it is for real. You'll notice that we don't update the Hello/Goodbye column for the most part until we see a press release on letterhead. Just saying, we all know how the transfer market works.