UPDATE 11:24 a.m. (Wed.) – Mario Martinez played all 90 minutes for Honduras in Tuesday’s 2-0 road loss at Panama. Eddie Johnson came off the bench to play about 35 minutes in a 0-0 road tie at Mexico.
And here is what coach Sigi Schmid said after Tuesday’s practice regarding how international duty might affect their available for Sounders FC, which plays at Real Salt Lake on Saturday and then hosts Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the first CCL semifinal leg on Tuesday. Remember, this quote came before the games were played.
“A guy like Mario, who played like 82 or 83 minutes in Game 1, if he plays 90 minutes now tonight in Panama, it’s probably going to be tough for him to play Saturday and Tuesday,” Schmid said. “So we have to make a decision there. We’ll see how much Eddie plays, whether we think he can go Saturday-Tuesday.”
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Here is a quick roundup on what Sounders FC’s trio of international call-ups did the past couple days with their respective national teams in World Cup qualifying:
Eddie Johnson (USA) — Came off bench in 76th to help close out a 1-0 win Friday over Costa Rica in snowy Colorado
Mario Martinez (Honduras) — Started in a 2-2 tie Friday against Mexico, assisted on the team’s first goal, subbed out in the 83rd minute
Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) — Started in a 1-1 tie Saturday against Kenya, subbed out in the 59th minute
Martins is done with his international duty for now and could even be en route to Seattle already. The other two still have qualifiers coming Tuesday.
Johnson and the U.S. head to Mexico for a big game at Azteca Stadium. Martinez and Co. travel to Panama. Assuming those two return to Seattle on Wednesday, it’s conceivable one or both might have a reduced role in a March 30 road game at Real Salt Lake (how much they feature in the games is obviously a factor).
There is also short rest for the Sounders leading into the April 2 opener of a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series with Mexico’s Santos Laguna, so the lineup will continue to be a storyline to follow for a while.