For new Sounders attacker Martinez, it's easy being green
TUKWILA, Wash. — Wearing green may not be particularly popular among Mario Martínez’s hometown fans back in Honduras, but it seems to suit him just fine.
The latest addition to the Seattle Sounders went through his first training session with his new team on Friday and looked perfectly comfortable, despite wearing a similar shade of green as his former team Real España’s archrivals Marathón.
“I actually have heard really good things about this team,” Martínez, who just finished playing for the Honduran Olympic team, said through a translator. “They both said great things about the organization, so I’m just hoping to take advantage of the opportunity because I heard it’s a great place to be.”
Martínez is just the latest of what seems to be a growing pipeline between Honduras and MLS. Alongside the likes of Roger Espinoza and Andy Najar, he was one of four MLS players with los Catrachos in London and joins the likes of recent Designated Player signings Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution) and Boniek García (Houston Dyanmo).
“People in Honduras are excited,” Martínez said. “They know the league because people from Honduras have come to play here. What’s exciting is that every time a Honduran comes, it opens the door for another player. I’m just glad to be here and hope to do a good job to keep that door open for another player to come in the future.”
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid seemed pleased with what he saw from Martínez, despite the fact that the 23-year-old just got to town on Thursday night from Miami after playing for the senior national team in a friendly against Boca Juniors on Wednesday. Schmid indicated Martínez would get his first game action this weekend, either in the Cascadia Cup showdown against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday (4 pm ET; TSN2/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in the US) or in Sunday’s Reserve League match.
“You can tell he has a good touch,” Schmid said. “He wasn’t afraid of asking for the ball out there on the field. We have to give him a little bit of time to acclimate and get used to everything.”
Where he’ll be playing has not yet been decided. Martínez played mostly as a withdrawn forward in the Olympics, but has also featured at both wide midfield positions. No matter what, he’ll have plenty of competition for minutes, which is exactly what Schmid wants.
“There’s gotta be competition everywhere on the field,” Schmid said. “It’s a matter of guys who are playing well will step on the field and play.”
Andrew Duran was back from his loan to the Atlanta Silverbacks, but not under the best conditions. The defender tore his ACL, which was on the opposite leg of his two previous knee injuries, and will undergo surgery to repair it sometime next week.
The news is a little better for David Estrada, who is now in Week 8 of what was orignally diagnosed as an eight- to 12-week recovery process from a broken foot. Schmid said Estrada has started to run on an “altered-g” treadmill and could start putting his full weight on his foot soon
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.