Sounders Notes: Martinez to join Friday, Zakuani goes 90
Christian Tiffert is working his way into the fold in Seattle quickly, and it won't be long before the Sounders' other summer signing gets his chance.
Mario Martínez is expected in training on Friday, head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Tuesday. The 23-year-old recently completed a successful stint with the Honduras Olympic team, helping them advance to the quarterfinals where the winger scored a goal in an eventual 3-2 loss to Brazil.
Martínez has already received his P-1 visa, which makes him eligible to play, and he could have joined the Sounders as early as last week. But with Martínez already scheduled to join Honduras in Miami for a friendly against Boca Juniors on Thursday, Schmid said the Sounders figured it would be easier for him to skip the trip to San Jose and just join the team in Seattle.
Zakuani makes another step forward
Being a regular part of the Sounders rotation may still be a ways off, but Steve Zakuani mde another step in the right direction after playing all 90 minutes in Sunday’s 3-0 Reserve League loss to the Earthquakes.
“It's good for him to get the minutes in for his fitness,” Schmid said. “We switched him between playing wide and upfront so a lot of those times he dropped into the midfield. The result wasn't a good one for us, but we were trying to get him 90 minutes and we ended up playing a bunch of young guys. It was good.
“There were periods in the game where you could see his explosion. I think that helped his confidence level knowing that he could explode past people. I think that helped his confidence. Was he a 90-minute fit player? No, but it was good to get 90 minutes on him.”
Ochoa inches from wondergoal
The woodwork was not kind to Sounders forward Sammy Ochoa in his first league start of the season. The second-year forward hit the crossbar twice in the loss, the first one coming on a spectacular bicycle-kick attempt.
“I just saw it and thought I can’t bring it down so I’m just going to hit it,” Ochoa said of the attempt. “A couple weeks ago, I got the same thing in practice and the same thing, it hit the post. I don’t think those back kicks go in my favor so I don’t know that I’m going to try another one.”
Montero stays hot
Although the Sounders saw their six-game league unbeaten streak end with Saturday’s loss in San Jose, it wasn’t before Fredy Montero added another goal to his record. The Sounders forward has now scored in three of four league appearances.
It also continued a rather impressive run of form in the role of substitute. Montero didn’t enter the game until the 84th minute, but still managed to score his fourth goal this season off the bench. In just 208 career minutes as a sub, Montero now has five goals and two assists.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.