TUKWILA, Wash. — Mario Martínez and Adam Johansson will once again answer their countries’ calls.
Just as they were during the last round of World Cup qualifying, the Seattle Sounders pair have again been called up for upcoming games on Oct. 12 and 16.
Martínez (above) will join Honduras as they prepare to play at Cuba (Oct. 12) and host Panama (Oct. 16). Johansson will join Sweden for their games at Faroe Islands (Oct. 12) and Germany (Oct. 16).
“It’s a different level and anytime you can get exposure on that level it helps you as a player, but it also helps your confidence,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid when asked about the benefits of international competition.
“Those are just the experiences and the more experiences you can get like that, the better you become. As a player, the more, not only confident, but relaxed you are as you go into games because you feel that, ‘Hey I belong here, I know what to do, I can make an impact.’”
Both players will miss the Oct. 17 game against Real Salt Lake. Martínez may also be allowed to miss Sunday’s game against the Portland Timbers (9 pm ET, ESPN), if the Sounders decide he won’t be starting for them.
“Every situation is different,” Schmid said. “You expect national team players to be playing and starting for you. Mario’s situation is unique because he came to us midseason, had to go back to the national team a couple times, so it’s been harder for him to establish that day-to-day with us.
Schmid noted that he felt it was important to be flexible when it comes to dealing with national team coaches, and that the Sounders try to do what’s best for everyone involved. In Martínez’s case, there’s a good chance he’ll start for Honduras, while Johansson has mostly come off the bench for Sweden.“Right now, what we have to do is make sure that he and Adam and everybody [are] prepared for the playoffs with us. That assures that to the best of our abilities.”
“Adam’s team is gathering on the Monday, but because he’s going to be starting for us and he’s played a lot of minutes for us, we asked them if he could come in a day later, which they said OK to,” Schmid said.
“That’s what we felt was the best situation. For him, it’s different for the national team — is he necessarily going to start there or is he going to be a sub there? It’s good for him to get the minutes in with us before he goes.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.