Toronto FC 2011 Top 40 Countdown: Number 23 - Javier Martina

What's that Javier? That bench jacket feels pretty cosy? You could get used to that? Don't worry, you will.

The parade of players who played predominantly in the first half of the season continues with another of Aron Winter's European imports that didn't really work out.  At least he'll always have Portland, at number 23, it's Javier Martina.

Average Ranking: 22.747
Highest Ranking: 14
Lowest ranking: 30

Duncan: 28.  Ah Javier Martina.  Not since Pedro Paulo played a couple of ridiculously good games for Darlington back in 1995, then promptly disappeared back to Portugal has a winger flattered to deceive at the start of the season as much as Javier Martina did.  I'll get it out of the way now, here's the link to THAT goal, it's worth another look, that was his second of the game and it looked like the early promise he'd shown in the grainy highlights we got to see from the European pre season games was going to translate very nicely over to MLS.

It caught the attention of people throughout MLS as well, for a good month or so after, whenever I did a three questions article with an opposing team blogger, they'd ask about him, and if he was for real.  I went from cautiously optimistic that he'd disprove my distrust of tricky wingers, to thinking he'll be the new Rohan Ricketts, talented but inconsistent, and eventually as the season wore on, I came to the conclusion he was just crap.

At first I thought it was down to the lack of support from the Right Back, Ty Harden or Dan Gargan were never going to provide the offensive support that the Left Wingers received from Danleigh Borman or Mikael Yourassowsky.  Then along came Richard Eckersley to disprove that theory as Martina's play didn't improve one bit despite Eckersley's offensive instincts.  By May, he'd lost his place in the starting lineup to Nick Soolsma, not as fast, not as exciting but twice as effective, and his place as exciting bright new thing to Joao Plata.

He made a few appearances here and there, mainly when Alan Gordon was injured, and Maicon Santos was either injured or on Aron Winter's naughty spot.  He almost scored against Vancouver but had a curiously weak shot 'cleared off the line' by Jay DeMerit, and probably his best performance since that home opener came ironically enough in Portland where he once again looked dangerous and effective.  I doubt he'll be back next year, and I'm fairly convinced that that Portland game was just one last brief uptick in an otherwise perpetually downward slide in his career.

He did make 3 appearances for Curacao in this World Cup qualifying round, helping them to a creditable 2-2 tie with Haiti, so hopefully for him he can go on to a long career with them as I genuinely don't feel the malice I do towards that other big disappointment Alen Stevanovic.  Martina wasn't quite good enough often enough to make a success of his season, in the end, he is what he is, a tricky winger, you can never trust them.

Dave: 21. He was quite promising early in his time with Toronto FC. He managed to net two goals for the club but after that things really seemed to fall off for him. By the end of the year Martina was spending most of his time in the reserve team and not finding a way on to the field.

Keaton: 25 Looked to be our main guy after starting in Vancouver and in our home opener against the mighty mighty Timbers. He had his moments, but I could see us parting ways or trading Martina.

James: Early promise, gave way to disappointing season. Difficulty adjusting to North America. Wouldn't give up on him, but concerned about the drop.

JC_Plante: Early favorite for player of the year, lost his spot on the squad for reasons only Winter knows

Macs_Daddy: Boy did this guys stock plummet

The Yorkies: What a player! (Comment valid for one match only)

Canadian Texan: Very promising camp and opening to season then faded dramatically.

Devon Taylor: A sizzling home opener was the peak of his year. Never reached those heights again, and slowly saw less and less of the field.

Blindfolded Tank Driver: Failed experiment that started so brightly for TFC. Has the talent, seems unwilling to use it every time.

Number 24: Mikael Yourassowsky
Number 22: Tony Tchani

Full Top 40 so far.

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