The deadline for the Seattle Sounders to exercise their “buy” option on Mario Martínez’s loan is Sunday, but his late addition to Honduras' CONCACAF Gold Cup roster seems to have only served to complicate an already confusing situation as seemingly conflicting messages are emerging from the various camps.
Days after Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer told the media that Martínez’s contract situation could stretch beyond the June 30 deadline, Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suárez was quoted by Honduran sports daily Diez as saying he only called up the midfielder – who has been on loan to the Sounders from Honduran club Real España – after learning “he wasn’t going to continue” with the MLS club.
That seemed to contradict Real España president Fuad Abufele, who told Diez, “The idea was that Mario will continue abroad, we're hoping that Seattle will confirm that."
Martínez himself suggested the situation was at the very least undecided when he tweeted “Real España or Sounders? Nothing is defined yet, now is the time to think about the national team and the Gold Cup."
Agradecidos por el apoyo saludos gente .. Real España o SSounders?? No se define aun,Ahora es momento d pensar en la selecc y la copa oro..— Mario Martinez (@mariomartinez_7) June 29, 2013
The 23-year-old also reportedly told Diez that the Sounders had offered him a three-year contract, but that he was also being pursued by an unnamed second-division team in England.
Assuming Seattle were still on the fence about keeping Martínez, his call-up hardly seems to have been a point in his favor. Depending on how Honduras fare at the Gold Cup, there’s a distinct possibility that he could miss all five Sounders games in July and two more in each of September and October for World Cup qualifying.
At the very least, his absence from training seems to have caught the Sounders by surprise.
“It’s a little bit of a confusing situation because we were told he was not going to be called into the Gold Cup roster,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Friday. “Now that the coach called him up to the Gold Cup, when exactly he has to report we’re a little bit unsure of. So it’s a little bit of a limbo, confusion state right now.”
The only thing that seems to be certain right now is that Martínez won’t be available for Seattle’s next game against D.C. United on Wednesday (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Sounders had no further comment on Sunday when contacted by MLSsoccer.com.