Five years after RSL stint, Rapids' Enzo Martinez meets Jason Kreis again

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – In two seasons at Real Salt Lake under current Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis, Colorado Rapids midfielder Enzo Martinez never saw the field in MLS play.

It didn’t feel like a fair shot for the 17th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

“If you ask any player that went through my situation, I don’t think they would say ‘yeah’,” Martinez told MLSsoccer.com. “You’d be crazy to say that, because I didn’t get to play. But things went the way they went.”

After two seasons with Salt Lake, Martinez plied his trade in the USL for five years before landing a second chance in MLS with Colorado this season. His current head coach, Anthony Hudson, has been impressed from the start.

“I like Enzo a lot,” said Hudson. “I’m someone that looks at what someone does, rather than reputation and that type of stuff. Ever since I’ve been here, Enzo shows up every day, performs, good attitude, is a team player, sacrifices for the team. He has quality. He’s got a big heart. Players like Enzo are so important to this team.”

Kreis has also been following the career trajectory of Martinez and had amicable words about his former player.

“I'm pleased for Enzo, he's a terrific young man, and I'm also pleased for what that means for all the players that are coming up as professionals in our league,” said Kreis. “I'm also finally pleased that it shows something about the developmental process and the system that we have in place where a player can drop down to the second level for a little while and come back up."

Under Hudson, things have been different for Martinez. The Uruguayan-American has logged over 400 minutes in five MLS starts with Colorado this season as well as two Concacaf Champions League matches, and is valued for his work rate and versatility in the midfield.

Martinez and Kreis on draft day in 2012 | Courtesy of RSL

“It’s been fun,” Martinez said. “I don’t think I could have drawn it or imagined it any better. To be in a team that is really good with a good coaching staff, and to be able to play and give everything I can out there has been a blessing for me and my family.”

Colorado’s 3-0 loss to RSL last weekend hampered Martinez’s shot at redemption against his former club. But as the Rapids prepare to host Orlando this weekend (Sunday, 4 pm ET | ESPN — Full TV & streaming info​), he’ll have another chance; this time against his former coach.

Don’t call it a “revenge tour,” however.

“To be dead honest, I’m not focused on that,” said Martinez. “It’s not about me, it’s about the team and getting the result. Obviously, it would mean a lot to get the result on Sunday, especially against [Kreis], but I’m just focused on what my job is and what I need to do to help the team.”


Mike Gramajo contributed to this report.