Martinez a regular for Honduras after latest call-up
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The talented wideman has become a vital part of Honduras' plans as they push forward through World Cup qualifying and Copa Centroamerica.
When the Sounders signed Mario Martinez to a loan deal on August 1, he was in the midst of the 2012 Olympics in England. Playing in his second Olympic Games after playing as a 19-year-old in 2008, Martinez wouldn’t finally join the Sounders until August 17 and he has since become as hot a commodity in the region as he was already in Honduras.
Now, he is back with the Honduras National Team again as they prepare for their first match in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. Before facing the US in that crucial match on February 6 though, Martinez and Honduras will play in the 2013 Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica.
That tournament will kick off on January 18 and Honduras will meet El Salvador and Panama. By the time the tournament concludes on January 27, they will play as many as four matches, with the top five teams qualifying for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Since joining the Sounders, Martinez has played in four World Cup qualifiers, totaling 282 minutes with two goals while Honduras has gone 3-0-1 to reach the Hexagonal round.
Martinez saw limited time with the Sounders, as he was in and out of training to be with the Honduras National Team after the Olympics concluded, but still made an impact.
In the 2012 regular season, he played just 40 minutes in three substitute appearances. However, he had two assists in three CONCACAF Champions League matches to help the Sounders to a 4-0-0 record in the Group Stage.
He made his greatest contribution, though, in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Making his first start against an MLS opponent, Martinez scored the series-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the second match of the Western Conference Semifinals to send the Sounders through to the Western Conference Championship for the first time in club history.
Martinez will be joined by four other representatives from MLS – San Jose Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez, San Jose midfielder Marvin Chavez, Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Garcia and New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston.
After finishing his matches with Honduras, Martinez will join the Sounders in training camp, which opens on January 21 and includes trips to Casa Grande and Tucson in Arizona.