The Fire announced on Wednesday that midfielder Julio Martinez has been released from the club.
Martinez, who was signed in January, made three league appearances for the Fire, starting twice and registering one goal. The 24-year-old Salvadoran winger was brought to Chicago on a loan from Mexican second division squad Club Leon.
“We always thought that Julio was going to be an impact player for the team, and it just wasn’t working out,” Fire technical director Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com.
Prior to his time in Chicago, Martinez grew close to Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos while playing under him when both were with the Salvadoran national team.
“It was very difficult for me to make this decision because I knew him very well and had the opportunity to coach him in the past with the national team in El Salvador,” de los Cobos said. “I have strong feelings towards him, but now it is time to take decisions out of what is best for the team.”
De los Cobos cited Martinez’s poor performance and lack of physicality as reasons for his release.
“His performance wasn’t what I expected,” de los Cobos said. “What I was expecting from Julio was better performance and a more decisive attitude on the field. This is a league that the physical aspect of the game is really dominant, and given the position that Julio played, it was going to be hard for him to give what I needed.”
When asked why this signing was made in the first place, Klopas and de los Cobos each talked about their initial belief that Martinez would be a quality MLS player.
“He’s got good qualities,” Klopas said. “But who knows? Maybe some people don’t adjust. You go to different countries people don’t adjust well, to different leagues, for whatever reason it just wasn’t working out. But it’s better to make those decisions and move forward instead of waiting for the end of the season and not get what you’re able to from a different player.”
And move forward is exactly what the Fire will do.
Klopas said that the club will bring in a new player to replace Martinez during the summer transfer window. Some possible signings include 28-year-old American midfielder Jeremiah White and 30-year-old Serbian midfielder Bratislav Ristic. Both players have been on trial with the club, with Ristic having been in camp for the better part of the last two weeks. White has been with the Fire since last Tuesday.
“We’re still looking at some guys,” Klopas said. “Obviously you know the guys are in camp are this guy Ristic and Jeremiah White … Ristic is a fast player, he’s an experienced player, he’s a very good soccer player and [White] is someone with a lot of pace. In the short time that I’ve seen, I think both players can bring something to the team.”
One player who the Fire won’t be signing is French midfielder Malaury Martin. The former French youth international’s trial with the Fire came to a close on Friday, and Klopas said that the club has no plans to bring him in over the summer.