TUKWILA, Wash. — With his loan set to expire on June 30, it’s starting to look more and more like Mario Martínez may stay with the Seattle Sounders for a bit longer.
Not only has the 23-year-old seen a dramatic increase in playing time over the past couple months, but both he and the Sounders are giving strong indications that there’s mutual interest in extending the relationship.
“We’re not going to give a lot, or any, specifics, but we’ve started that dialogue,” Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer told reporters on Thursday. “We would like to keep Mario. We’re currently in conversation with his representation and the club to try and keep him.”
Hanauer’s comments come just a couple days after Martínez spoke highly of the Sounders during an interview with Honduran publication Diez.
"I feel really good on my team,” Martínez said. “My contract is almost over but my intention is to continue with my club. I feel very comfortable. Seattle is a great city."
That’s a far cry from previous comments from Martínez, who complained on Twitter about a lack of playing time last at point last October. Although he later walked back those statements, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid admitted that there may have been some miscommunication between him and the player.
It has also surely helped that Martínez is seeing a lot more playing time this season. He has appeared in six straight matches, including three starts. Prior to that, he had never appeared in more than two consecutive games with the Sounders.
One of the issues that kept him off the field previously was an ability to get consistent training time with the club because of multiple call-ups to the Honduran national team. That problem appears to have been addressed this year.
Although Martínez is currently with Honduras for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Schmid said he asked Honduras head coach Luis Fernando Suárez to leave Martínez off the roster for the Gold Cup and some friendlies. Schmid said he’s been pleased with the results.
“For sure, I think he’s done well,” Schmid said. “He’s a player that can help us.”