Sounders welcome int'ls Martinez, Johansson back to fold
TUKWILA, Wash. – Two more potential reinforcements were back in Seattle Sounders training on Wednesday, as right back Adam Johansson and midfielder Mario Martínez returned from international duty.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said both could possibly be ready in time for Saturday’s nationally televised Cascadia Cup showdown with the Portland Timbers (3:30 pm ET, NBC, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“We wanted to go a little easier with them today,” Schmid said. “Mario’s travel was a little less strenuous. He did a little bit more. Adam got in late last night. It was a long trip. We wanted to get him through the first part and then we pulled him out. If he recovers well, if he feels good tomorrow, he should be ready for Saturday.”
Martínez played just shy of 120 minutes in two games off the bench for Honduras, who twice beat Cuba during World Cup qualifying matches. Johansson played 70 minutes off the bench in Sweden’s friendly against China and dressed but did not play in their qualifier against Kazakhstan.
For Martínez, it was the continuation of a recent run in which he’s been a major part of Honduras’ plans.
“It’s very motivating,” Martínez said through a translator. “It’s something everyone wants to do and so I just have to keep working hard here to keep being taken into account for the national team.”
In a way, Johansson’s inclusion in Sweden’s roster was even more telling. He was the first active Sounders player to be called away to a European national team and it offered a level of proof that playing in MLS does not have to come at the cost of international exposure.
“I would say I thought that I might be a bit longer from the national team before,” Johansson admitted. “But apparently it was possible. I’m really glad I was there and played. I hope I will be there again.”
If Johansson and Martínez can play on Saturday, that might help mitigate some potential absences elsewhere.
Despite making some progress, Schmid said injured midfielders Mauro Rosales and Christian Tiffert are still questionable for this week’s game.
“We’ll have to see, we’ll know a little bit more tomorrow,” Schmid said. “Mauro seems a little bit closer than Christian, but Christian just had the cortisone shot. That was his first day out there and tomorrow he should feel a lot better. It will be determinations we make tomorrow, maybe leave it until saturday.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.