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VANCOUVER, B.C – As Vancouver Whitecaps FC get set to take on D.C. United and Wayne Rooney on Saturday night at B.C. Place, they will also welcome back former Vancouver Whitecap, Felipe Martins.

It was oh so long ago, on Tuesday, August 6, when Vancouver traded the Brazilian midfielder to the ‘Black and Red’ for $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and a 2020 international roster spot.

In parts of two seasons on the west coast, Felipe, made 47 MLS appearances for Whitecaps FC scoring 2 goals, and adding 7 assists. He often drew criticism from a vocal fan base for not being the player they expected, when he was acquired from the New York Red Bulls for centre-back, Tim Parker.

Throughout his time with Whitecaps FC the fan reaction on social media directed at Felipe was often vile, completely unfair, and over the top.

“It depends on how you see it,” Felipe told Har Journalist following D.C. United’s training session on Friday. “It’s all about perception. When you have 22,000 people in the stands every game, and there is fifty, sixty people on Twitter that say things. You can’t be judged by sixty people. You have to understand, do those people know about soccer, do they follow it, do they understand anything. You know, it’s just about perception.

As a professional, and as a soccer player, I always accept criticism. It’s not in my position to judge those people. It’s their way to see things and I’ve got to respect it, and do my thing so those things never bother me.”

Now that he will be representing the visiting team, Felipe isn’t quite sure what type of reaction he will receive from Whitecaps FC supporters.

“To be fair, I don’t expect anything,” Felipe explained. “For me it’s never a thing that bothers me, if they clap me or boo. If they think I deserve a clap for everything that I did, good. Otherwise, I’m going to try and play my game, be the best I can for the team.

I appreciate the time I had here. As life goes on, now I’m on another page, and I’m going to give everything I can for D.C. United. I will always be thankful for the Vancouver Whitecaps.”

Jake Nerwinski, is expecting to see the same hard nosed tackle machine that Felipe has brought throughout his MLS career. Felipe plays with no fear, and the Whitecaps FC right back will have to hope he isn’t on the receiving end of a Felipe challenge.

“You know he’s going to be extra motivated,” Nerwinski explained. “That’s just the kind of guy that he is. He’s probably going to put in a few good hard tackles. That’s how he has been his whole career. He’s on the other team now, he’s our enemy.”

“No way he’s getting by me.”

Contrary to what you might believe, Felipe, doesn’t go into a match looking to reach a certain tackle quota. If he makes a key defensive stop it’s all down to the flow of the match, and timing. He has been known to deliver a strong crunching, tackle, but he’s not going to go out of his way to stick the boot in. After all, three points are on the line.

“Let’s see, we’ve got to play the game,” Felipe said. “It’s not because I’ve played with them, that I’m going to make it easy. I’m going to play my game. I don’t think how many tackles I’m going to make. I’m going to play my game, and do what the coaches ask me to do.”

This will be Felipe’s second match with his new club, but his first match with Wayne Rooney on the pitch as a teammate. Felipe made his D.C. United debut on Sunday, in a 2-1 win over Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy.

As only he can, Felipe has a unique comparison for the legends that are Ibrahimovic, and Rooney.

“The difference between Rooney and Zlatan is that, Rooney doesn’t need people cheering him. He’s the kind of player that’s accomplished everything in his career. He doesn’t need anybody to be there clapping, or showing how much they love him. He’s confident enough to step on the field, and do the best he can for D.C. United.

Zlatan needs the show, He’s part of the show, and he appreciates that.”

If Zlatan is a Ferrari, what does that make England, and Manchester United all-time leading goal-scorer, Wayne Rooney?

“Lamborghini was created because Ferrari was disrespected by Mr. Lamborghini,” Felipe explained in great detail. “Lamborghini went and created a car that was going to beat Ferrari, and that’s what happened. If you talk about a (Zlatan) Ferrari, he (Rooney) could be an SUV Lamborghini.”

With Felipe, Rooney, and an SUV Lamborghini on display at B.C. Place, there is no telling how the artificial turf will hold up. There’s bound to be a few fireworks, tackles, and goalzos from Whitecaps FC and D.C. United.

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