With his screamer of a goal against Toronto FC last weekend Felipe Campanholi Matins (or better known as just “Felipe”) has been an enigma since joining the Montreal Impact just prior to their inaugural MLS season. The Brazilian has had up-and-down spells with the club during the course of his first three seasons with the Impact. However, with all of the changes that have occurred at the club over the last three seasons (including three head coaches and a flurry players coming in and out of the club) Felipe has been one of the constants.
The 24 year old Brazilian was born in Engenheiro Beltrão, Brazil a small town of less than 15,000 residents. His first real professional opportunity was presented to him by Italian club, Padova in 2008 where he made four appearances. Unfortunately, Padova were concerned with the player when it was discovered he had a minor heart defect and Felipe was released.
After his one year in Italy, Felipe decided he wanted to take a shot playing in England, and was presented with a trial at AFC Bournemouth. The manager of Bournemouth stated in the media that, “…He`s keen to come to England and we have made him an offer. I believe he has tremendous ability and is a real prospect, maybe further down the line than this season.” However, Felipe ultimately decided on a different path signing with FC Winterthur in Switzerland before moving to FC Lugano where he remained for a number of seasons.
Move to La Belle Province:
During his first season with the Montreal Impact Felipe made an impression on the league as he was touted as one of the best young midfielders in the league. During the 2012 season Felipe led the Impact with ten assists and finished eighth in the MLS. Felipe was also the first Impact player to play 5,000 career minutes for the Impact in the MLS. Unfortunately his form has not kept up over the course of the last two seasons starting many games as a substitute this season.
Carving out a Niche:
One of the biggest complaints against Felipe is his lack of size and strength. In a league that is ultra-physical, Felipe at times has trouble carving out room for himself in the midfield. However, Felipe does possess excellent footwork, a solid mind for the game, and can provide a spectacular goal from time to time.
Although Felipe’s role has changed slightly over the past three seasons he is still a valuable asset for the Impact to hold on to. Felipe, as all players, needs to be put in a position where he can succeed, this being in the attacking third of the pitch. Felipe has struggled when he is put in a position where he needs to cover the field from box to box. With the addition of Piatti it should help the entire midfield, but especially someone like Felipe who will have more room to play in an attacking role.
Felipe and the Impact take on the New York Red Bulls in the CONCACAF Champions League tonight, before finishing out the 2014 MLS campaign on Saturday afternoon against DC United.
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