While the move certainly hurts them today, it was made with an eye on the future, as the Caps look to build on the rest of this season and beyond.
The Vancouver Whitecaps lost their second Brazilian in less than a week, as midfielder Felipe Martins was traded to DC United on Tuesday, with $75 000 in 2020 TAM and a 2020 international roster spot heading the other way, bolstering their ability to make a move to improve their team next season.
It’s all part of a busy day of moves for DC, who earlier in the day had announced that star Wayne Rooney was moving on to Derby County FC in England at the end of 2019, before also announcing that they had acquired 50k in GAM from Minnesota and 212k in TAM from Portland, both for International Spots. After acquiring MLS veteran striker Ola Kamara a few days prior, as well as LA midfielder Emmanuel Boateng earlier on Tuesday, Felipe was the latest piece of the puzzle added in by them, as they look to make a deep run in what will be Rooney’s last MLS campaign.
The move came as a surprise for Felipe, but it presents him with an intriguing opportunity, giving him a chance to join a team in the midst of a playoff push.
“First of all, I want to thank you, every single one of you guys, all the organization who gave me the opportunity to play here,” Felipe said shortly before the move announced. “I’ll go with the knowledge that every single day whoever works here knows that I gave my all”
“I’m very excited to join a great organization, that I know very well, I hope to get there, and get to work, day by day win those fans that hated me so much. Ready to get there, work hard, make the playoffs, and make the DC United fans proud.”
Felipe finishes his Vancouver tenure with 2 goals and 7 assists in 49 games, after being brought in for Caps favourite Tim Parker in a deal early last season. Acquired by then-coach Carl Robinson to shore up their midfield, he has had a very up and down tenure in the blue and white, marred by inconsistent play and off the field struggles.
“Things started very well last year,” Felipe said. “I had a good half-season last year, and then had some personal issues, which got me a bit off the road, unfortunately after many years playing regularly week-by-week, I didn’t get a chance to play as consistently as I wanted, and when you don’t play consistently, you start to get doubts in your mind, you don’t get the confidence you need”
Having been traded now for the third time, Felipe is no stranger to having to pack things up and hit the road, but it still came as a bit of a surprise for him and teammates, after he scored the winning goal last Saturday against Cincinnati to win them their first game since May. But for fellow midfielder Andy Rose, it’s the nature of the game, and it’s all about moving on and keeping your head up.
“It’s professional sports, I think most of us have been part of the game long enough to understand that,” Rose said Tuesday.“ It’s a difficult part, but it can be a great part, we’ll be excited by new signings for sure, and there’s some parts of the team that can do with strengthening, but you also lose some teammates and friends, that’s all part of the business as well, it’s the difficult part of it.”
“He’s a tenacious midfielder, extremely professional, throughout the season things hadn’t always gone his way, but he showed up every day, I was so impressed by his work rate and mentality, it’s tough to lose friends in this game, and guys move away, but it’s a part of MLS most certainly compared to other league’s I have been a part of, with their trade windows.”
With Felipe and Venuto’s departures clearing up over 1 million dollars in cap space, as well as opening up 1 international spot as well as bringing in one, moves are expected to come in both this window, as well as the next one over the winter. While the Caps have already brought in one player, Micheall Chirinos, they will need more if they are to compete in MLS next year.
Dos Santos doesn’t rule the chance of bringing in another name this window, with trades within MLS still remaining a possibility, his eye remains on the future, with 2020 providing him with a good chance to recoup some value on his assets, as well as bringing in some names that can push the club forward.
“He was kind of settling in because he trains well, he has a good mentality, he was very honest all the time with his work,” Dos Santos said to reporters Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say (the move) was planned, we need a certain type of profile in the midfield, that is very specific for us, and we know we can’t do it now, but we will be able to do possibly a good one in January. So in the big picture, someone had to move eventually, if we wanted to improve the team in that area of the field.”
“It’s going to hurt us today, but for the big picture of the club, and looking at what we want to build, it’s the right decision, but it was a very hard one, because I like and appreciate Felipe a lot.”
For Felipe, the move will be made easier, with DC coming to town in just under two weeks to take on the Caps. While he will head to Washington immediately to join his new team, it will give his family some time to pack and get ready, so they can head out and join Felipe in his new home when ready.
“It’ll be a proper goodbye, for them (the fans),” Felipe finished, speaking of the homecoming. “From this day on, I’m a DC United player, I’m going to come with the same intensity, or even more, to give my all, it’ll be easier for my family, who will stay here to prepare, because we are still surprised by this move, but at the same time I’m excited to go to the (US) schools, and it’s good to go to a good organization”
Until then, the transfer window closes Thursday at noon, so it’s possible the Caps aren’t done wheeling and dealing. While they won’t move guys just for the sake of moving guys, Dos Santos knows his phone will be ringing, but whether he answers or not depends if the offer will be suitable enough to improve his club both today and in the future.