Vancouver FC Iron Man Pele Martinez Handed Three-Match Ban
Vancouver FC head coach Afshin Ghotbi will be without Belizian international Pele Martinez for a three game stretch.
The Canada Soccer Dispensary Committee has handed a three-match ban to the defender following the club’s away trip loss against Cavalry FC last week, with Martinez having delivered a strong elbow to Roberto Alarcon that was deemed violent conduct.
Martinez has appeared in every single minute of Vancouver FC’s maiden campaign thus far, establishing himself as a firm starter as Afshin Ghotbi’s side seeks to find some stability in year one.
Only defender Ibrahim Bakare has matched Pele for minutes. The Englishman be the last squad member possibly en route to an iron man campaign after VFC’s next match.
It’ll be a mighty tough stretch of matches for Pele to miss: Atletico Ottawa, Forge FC, and Valour FC are no small hurdles, with the first two of the three representing last year’s regular season and playoff champions.
Martinez, 25, leads his side for recoveries made, though the defensive end has been an area of woe for the expansion side: they’ve conceded the most goals in the league after nine matches played, resting bottom of the bunch – though a sole win could see them rise to mid-table.
While Martinez grabbed an imediate starting spot for Vancouver FC’s inaugural campaign after impressing through an open trial, this is his first year as a professional athlete.
He had previously played at the NCAA Division II level with the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, making history as the expansion side’s first international signing,
Ghotbi still has two big centre-backs to pick from in Bakare and Romeo, though Pele’s absence could see young Port Moody native Anthony White tally a few more minutes of game time too.
Vancouver FC will away in the nation’s capital against an Atletico Ottawa side hungry to turn their own season around tomorrow afternoon.