Since Major League Soccer started in 1996, a total of 59 Brazilian-born players have played at least one regular season game. Of all the teams that have played in MLS since 1996, all have used more Brazilian players than Colorado. With the signing of Brazilian forward Edu, ColoradoRapids.com take a look at the first three Brazilian-born players to suit up for the Rapids over club's 17 years.
MARQUINHO - 1998: Marco Antonio dos Santos - better known as Marquinho - was assigned to the Rapids as an allocation from Peru's Alianza Lima on March 5, 1998. His stay lasted exactly three months, as he was released from his contract on June 5 of that year, siting 'family issues,' the club announced in a press release at the time. During his short stay, the Sao Paulo-born attacking midfielder started five of the 11 matches in which he appeared, scoring three goals and adding three assists. CAREER STATS
He came to the club with high expecations. After starting his career with Ponte Petra in Brazil, he made his mark in Peru's top league where in 1992 he scored 20 goals for Sporting Boys. He then left for Europe, and in 1994 he led his Austrian club Casino Salzburg (now known as FC Red Bull Salzburg) to the finals of the UEFA Cup, the European Club championship at the time, where they lost to Italy's Inter Milan 2-0 on aggregate with Marquinho starting both legs. He had scored 12 goals with Alianza Lima the season before signing with Colorado.
THIAGO MARTINS - 2006: The Rapids acquired Martins in a trade with the New York Red Bulls on April 26, 2006 in exchange for forward Jean Philippe Peguero and NY's 1st and 3rd Round Natural Draft picks in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. He started 14 of the 25 matches in which he appeared that year, and saved his best game for last. On October 14 - the last game of the season - he scored two (of his three) goals as the Rapids came back three times to tie Houston 3-3 and clinch a playoff berth. He was not re-signed when the season ended, and left to sign with FK Bodø/Glimt in Norway.
Martins began his MLS career in 2003 with DC United, but two ACL tears limited him to five matches in his two seasons. Chivas USA then selected the Sao Paulo-born forward in the 2005 MLS Expansion Draft. He scored three goals in 22 games during the Goats' inaugural season and was then traded to NY along with an allocation for high-scoring forward Ante Razov. He only played one game for NY, 11 minutes off the bench against Salt Lake, before the Rapids acquired him. CAREER STATS
RAFAEL GOMES - 2008: Signed on March 3, 2008, having most recently played for CD Santa Clara in Portugal, the defensive midfielder from Rio de Janeiro made seven regular season appearances for the Rapids before being waived on June 27, 2008. Gomes totaled 282 minutes and recorded his lone assist against FC Dallas on June 1. He also appeared in four Reserve League matches and the club's two U.S. Open Cup 'play-in' matches that year, scoring a penalty kick in the shootout loss to Kansas City. CAREER STATS
He had previously played for Vasco de Gama, Bragantino, Olaria, and Atletico Mineiro in his native country. But his resume highlight was his participation in Brazil's U-15 and U-17 National Teams, on which he was a teammate of Ronaldinho. He was among the final players to make the opening day roster that year.