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Sporting KC 2020 Year in Review: Luis Martins

We continue our look through the defense with one of the two left backs on the roster.

Minnesota United FC v Sporting Kansas City
Luis Martins #36 of Sporting Kansas City controls the ball against Minnesota United FC in the first half at Children’s Mercy Park on September 13, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Photos by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The 2020 MLS season has come to an end and much like we did in 2019 for Sporting Kansas City, it’s time to look back at how each player performed. Keep in mind the stats look diminished for many players, but just 21 regular season games were played in this COVID shortened season (instead of the typical 34). For the full list of players reviewed, head to our dedicated Year in Review page.

The Blue Testament continues our look back at 2020 with what was the team’s starting left back but may not be anymore — Luis Martins.

2020 Stats

Games Played (Started): 11 (9)

Minutes Played: 773

Goals: 0

Assists: 2

xG (expected goals): 0.13

Positions Played: Left Back

2019 Salary: $240,000

2020 Salary: Unknown - But likely at or slightly above 2019.

Contract Through (Option Years): 2021 (2022)

Best Moment of 2020

Is it bad to say the opener? Against the Vancouver Whitecaps he beats his man to the end line and puts a ball back towards the top of the 18-yard-box and Gadi Kinda drives it home for a delightful goal. I was pretty high on Martins early in the season. Many of us were. His crosses looked great. He was a threat down the left side. But as the year wore on, he became predictable (so many crosses to no one) and then he got hurt.

Worst Moment of 2020

On September 19th, Martins left the FC Dallas game in the 48th minute after picking up an injury. Initially Peter Vermes thought it may be long-term but he only missed three full games. He subbed on for a quick nine minute appearance against Nashville SC, but the damage had been done. Amadou Dia was given his chance and he stole his job. Martins would only start one more time (and it was because Dia was a late scratch). In the final game in the playoffs against Minnesota United, Dia was pulled after a bad first half. It’ll be interesting to see how this positional battle plays out in 2021.

Interesting Stat

$176,453. That’s the difference between Luis Martins’ $240k salary and the league’s reserve minimum salary. We don’t officially know what Amadou Dia made in 2020, but it’s possible it’s the Reserve minimum of $63,547 because he had spent the proceeding three years in the USL Championship with Phoenix Rising. Even if he didn’t earn that low of a wage, he probably wasn’t much above it. Martins and Dia have pretty similar production too (12 games played, nine starts, 847 minutes but just one assist for Dia) even without including the playoffs. The question becomes, is Martins good enough to make so much more money and to maybe be a backup who is taking up an international roster spot?

Fan Vote Results

Keep: 58.0%

Release/Sell: 42.0%

I’ll answer my question above. No, Martins hasn’t shown he’s worth his wage and international spot. It seems many of you may agree as well. He lost his starting spot (partially due to injury, but then the performance of Dia aided in that) and it’s just not clear Martins is above another player who could be had on a much lower deal. Plus freeing up international spots gives the team the ability to take a chance on another potential contributor. I’d personally try to transfer Martins and I’d even be open to the often heard phrase, they’ve “mutually agreed to part ways.” It’s been a weird year though, so we’ll see how it shakes out. If nothing, his option can be declined after 2021 if he doesn’t improve.