Seattle signing Martinez impresses in Reserve League debut
TUKWILA, Wash. — Mario Martinez’s whirlwind summer doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Since playing a starring role in Honduras’ surprise run to the Olympic quarterfinals, the 23-year-old has become quite the hot commodity. He made his debut on Sunday by playing 67 minutes in a Seattle Sounders Reserve League game, could make his senior team debut as early as Saturday against Chivas USA (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and is expected to rejoin Honduras during World Cup qualifying in September.
“Obviously I think he played well at the Olympics,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We’re happy we did his deal before he had that run, for sure. It certainly has drawn some notice for him and that entire squad of players because they did so well.”
Martinez did nothing to diminish the Sounders’ excitement in his first appearance in rave green. Although all three of the Sounders’ goals came after he left the game, he showed some good tactical awareness in interchanging with Steve Zakuani, provided some nice service on set pieces and was confident on the ball.
WATCH: Schmid discusses Martinez debut, Rose status
“He did [well],” Schmid said of Martinez’s performance. “It’s not like he had massive training time with the team. That was the first time he was really able to get out with them. They didn’t know where he likes the ball and what he wants to do with it. All that will get better. It was already better [at training Wednesday] than it was in the game.”
Easing Martinez’s transition has been the fact that so many of his new teammates speak Spanish.
“That helps a lot,” said Martinez, who said he fully intends to learn English while he’s in the United States. “Having the Latino players here and them being so helpful, they’ve really welcomed me and have helped wherever they can. I’m just really happy because I feel like I’ve arrived here in Seattle, they’re a great team and I have great teammates and I’m happy.”
Rose gets X-Rays
Andy Rose is scheduled to get X-Rays on Thursday to determine the severity of the fractured ribs he suffered in Saturday’s game following a kick from Vancouver's Gershon Koffie, who was suspended one game by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Schmid said the midfielder has already been ruled out for this week’s game, but could return to practice immediately in a best-case scenario.
A couple new faces have joined the Sounders in training in recent days. Forwards Dawyne “Ricky” Smith and Moises Orozco both played in Sunday’s Reserve League game and Schmid said there’s one open roster spot.
Smith’s MLS rights were acquired in June’s waiver draft, but was playing with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL-Pro where he scored once in 10 appearances.
Orozco has previously played for the United States U-20 team, spent 2011 with UNAL Tigres of Mexico and was on trial with Toronto FC earlier this year. Schmid said Orozco would likely have to go through some kind of allocation method if the Sounders wanted to sign him.
“He’s a kid we’ve known about for awhile,” Schmid said of Orozco. “We figured he was available, he’s from Southern California, so it’s not a big trip for him. We want to take a look at him for a couple of weeks.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.