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Union acquire Josue Martinez

The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that they have acquired 21-year-old Costa Rican international striker Josue Martinez from Club Deportivo Saprissa.

According to the announcement, “The forward will be available upon receipt of his P-1Visa and International Transfer Certificate. Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.”

Martinez is product of Saprissa’s youth system and scored a goal in his professional debut against Puntaneras FC on Nov. 15, 2009. In all, he has scored 18 goals in 43 appearances for his former club. A Martinez goal against Seattle Sounders sent Saprissa into the knockout stage of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League where the club was ultimately defeated by Real Salt Lake in the semifinals.

Martinez made his international debut for Costa Rica in a 1-0 win over Venezeula on June 27, 2009. He has two goals from 11 appearances for his country’s national team, scoring his first against El Salvador on Oct. 12, 2010. His second goal came came in a 2-0 victory over Bolivia at the 2011 Copa America on July 7.

A report on a Norwegian football website on November 29 served notice that the Union were working to acquire the young striker for a price of between $400,000 and $500,000, which would make Martinez the club’s first Designated Player. Whatever the amount of the deal, under the new Young Designated Player rules announced by MLS in August aimed at bringing younger international talent into the league, as a 21-year-old, Martinez’s salary would count for $200,000 against the Union’s salary cap rather than the $335,000 salary cap hit for older DP’s.

Martinez goal against Alajuela

Click here for links to more Martinez highlight videos on YouTube via the Union website.


  1. Great young player. Has huge potential. Still, they needed a target forward. Martinez is not that guy. Should be excellent to watch though.

    • I get the feeling we are going to be left wanting in that department. Martinez looks more the strike partner for Le Toux, learning from Paunovic. Perhaps he has more game with his head, but he doesn’t seem to stand out as an aerial threat.

      The target striker that “we need” is only necessitated by the fact that we play like we have one but dont. Floated crosses, long throws, and a long ball offense are frustrating without a big body to single out. Perhaps if our offense attacked to its strengths, our deficiency in size would be less glaring.

      Good pick up overall – this will even further reduce somebody’s playing time (McInerney’s) unfortunately, but I understand the move. Now on to the defense.

      • Our tactics simply don’t match our personnel. I think Nowak does a great job bringing players in, but the game plans just don’t make sense.

    • We only need a target forward if we keep on playing Bradley Ball … hopefully with a full off-season + pre-season of consistent, effective coaching we learn to keep the ball on the ground and play to feet.

      • I disagree. The Union have lost so many battles due to lack of physicality, incorporating some size is mandatory. I’m not looking for Conor Casey to come to Philly and start games, but having a player with aerial prowess to come in and influence games is important in a league as physical as MLS. No one liked the game plan of pumping the ball in to Carlos Ruiz’s head, it made no sense, but we need someone in attack with strength and heading ability.

  2. Am I right in assuming this will further decrease Mwanga and Union Jack’s minutes?

    • Hopefully Mwanga will become a starter and Jack Mac and Pauno will be subs

    • My main concern is what it means for Seba’s position. If this pushes him out wide in a 4-3-3-ish deal, that’s a bad thing, in my opinion. If he plays up top alongside Martinez in a 4-4-2, that’s okay.

    • Probably. But signing a young player rather than a proven vet from Europe means you could have more competition than there was when Ruiz signed. Martinez’s goal-scoring numbers look good (I haven’t seen him play), but there’s no guarantee he starts just yet (although we’ll know better if we find out a transfer fee).

      And … ditto on Jeremy L. We’ll see.

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