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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Friday, June 1, 2012


The MLS Disciplinary Committee Friday handed down a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine of the Union's Lionard Pajoy, for a "reckless challenge" in a May 26 loss at Toronto.

(For video of the 29th-minute challenge, of Toronto's Joao Plata, click here. It doesn't look like much, other than his over-the-ball jab at Plata's foot, but ...)

In any case, Pajoy will miss the Union's next MLS match -- a home date June 16 vs. D.C. United. So where does that leave the Union at striker depth?

Actually, it's a more fortunate spot, considering the recent play of Josue Martinez.

Martinez, the Costa Rican import who was added this offseason to bolster the offense, has been a non-factor, really. Outside of the season opener at Portland, Martinez has failed to play more than 35 minutes in an MLS match. Tuesday, Martinez found the pitch for 90 minutes (playing all but stoppage time), netted a goal and assisted on another in the Union's 3-0 win over Rochester in third-round U.S. Open Cup play.

Let's put it this way: Everything Martinez was against Rochester, Pajoy has shown he is not all season.

Pajoy was added last offseason, as well, and he's experienced mixed results. Yes, he's second on the team in scoring with three goals. Yes, he's an anchor in that he's played all but 16 minutes in 11 matches. But his lack of speed and his inability to break through defenders in 1 v. 1 scenarios has made his place in the Union's favored one-striker formation questionable.

Then there's Martinez, who's nine years younger, clearly swifter and had the offensive touch that Pajoy has lacked.

"(I'm) happy for the opportunity," Martinez said after the win over Rochester. "Despite it being a Cup game, all the minutes add up. That experience helps me feel more confident and hopefully gets me in the starting 11."

Even Pajoy seemed to enjoy playing alongside Martinez.

"Yes, Josue is a good player. He moves well and is very fast," Pajoy said. "Thank God the team was able to score with the help of Josue's playmaking. Along with Freddy (Adu) and the other wingers, we were able to create plenty of offensive opportunities."

Because Pajoy will miss the next match, there's no question Martinez should be in the starting XI against D.C. ... and beyond. He's shown he deserves the chance, thanks to Pajoy leaving the door open for him.

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