Recent Sounders addition Mario Martinez practiced for the first time with his new team Friday at the Starfire Sports Campus in Tukwila. From what was open to the media, he trained lightly to the side with some of the reserves and practiced some free kicks at the end (he hit an absolute scorcher into the upper corner in one attempt).
Coach Sigi Schmid said it’s possible Martinez could play in Saturday’s rivalry game in Vancouver. If not, the 23-year-old Honduran will almost certainly feature in Sunday’s MLS Reserve League game. Schmid said the new acquisition can play wide left or right and also as a withdrawn forward.
Martinez just wrapped a strong run with the Honduran Olympic team and played in a midweek exhibition with the national team against Boca Juniors. Here is the transcript of his group interview today through an interpreter.
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(What did you first think of the opportunity to play in Seattle?) “I was really happy and it was very motivating. I was excited to find out, and I’m just hoping to take advantage of this opportunity in the United States that anyone in Honduras would like to take advantage of.”
(What do you know about the Sounders?) I actually have heard really good things about this team. I talked with (Olympic teammates Roger Espinoza and Andy Najar) and they both said great things about the organization. So I’m just hoping to be able to take advantage of the opportunity because I’ve heard it’s a great place to be.”
(What was the Olympic experience like?) “It was a great, unforgettable experience. I think we did a great job representing Honduras, and I’m just hoping to be able to continue playing in that same vein and do the same thing for the club here and, like I said before, take advantage of the opportunity that I’ve been given here.”
(How did you first day go?) “I am really excited to be here. I had a great training session today. I enjoyed getting to know a lot of the players. It’s great that there are a lot of Latinos here and I’m just really looking forward to integrating myself into the team.”
(How would you describe what you can bring to the team?) “Well, they brought me here and they’re going to give me a chance, so (there’s) something they had to see in me. I would think that it’s that I’m a good shooter, I’m good on assists, I have some vision and I see the game well — I’m hoping that that’s what I can help this team with. I’m hoping that’s what they brought me here for and that that’s what I can contribute.”
(Do people in Honduras know much about MLS? It seems like the league is bringing in more players from Honduras?) “Yeah. People in Honduras are excited. They know a little bit about the league because Hondurans have come to play here. What’s exciting is that every time a Honduran player comes, it opens the door for another player. I just am glad to be here and hopefully do a good job in Seattle to keep that door open for another player who could come in the future.”
(Do you think you’re ready to play right away?) “I would love to play but that’s really a technical decision. If I’m given the opportunity, I’ll do the very best that I can. But yes, I’m ready.”
(What position do you see yourself playing?) “I like to play as a No. 10. (But I can play) on the left or the right, either side. With the Honduran national team I was playing on the right and sometimes on the left.”
(What do you think of Rave green?) “Green is the color of one of our arch rivals in Honduras, so maybe in Honduras they wouldn’t like it much. But it’s fine. I like the color. It’s great.”
(What was your CONCACAF Champions League experience like for you last year?) “I did have the opportunity to play in Champions League and I’m just hoping to bring the experience that I had there to this club because it’s important at the CONCACAF level.”