Seattle Sounders FC defender Adam Johansson and midfielder Mario Martinez were back training with the club Thursday after journeys across the globe for duty with the Sweden and Honduras national teams.
Despite their minutes on the pitch and hours in air travel, both are expected to be available Saturday afternoon when the Sounders visit Portland.
“We just wanted to go a little bit easier with them (Thursday),” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Mario’s travel was a little less strenuous, so he did a little bit more. But with Adam, he got in late (Wednesday) night: long travel trip. So we wanted him to get the warm-up in, get through the first part, and then just pulled him out. If he recovers well he’ll feel better (today). He ought to be ready to go Saturday.”
Johansson said his trip back to Puget Sound took 14-15 hours. But he added that he was happy to have remained on his national team’s radar despite his decision to move to the U.S. and play Major League Soccer this season.
“I thought that I might be a bit longer from the national team,” said Johansson, who had earned his first national team call-in in 2009. “It’s hard for them to see me over here. But apparently it was possible. So I’m really glad I was there on the team. I’m glad I played the first game: 70 minutes. And I hope that I will be there again.”
Johansson drew those 70 minutes in Sweden’s friendly against China last week, but he did not play in a World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.
Martinez played the full 90 minutes in one match and picked up 35 minutes off the bench in another as Honduras swept a pair of games against Cuba in a CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
“It’s very motivating when you get to play for your national team,” he said through a translator. “It’s something that everybody wants to do. So I have to keep working very hard here to be taken into account for the national team.”
Schmid said selection for international duty is a good reflection on the Sounders and the league.
“It’s good from the standpoint of the recognition … that a player can come over here and play, and then still be mentioned for their national team,” he said. “I think it’s good for our league for (national team coaches) to see that those players continue to grow and develop.”
The status of midfielders Mauro Rosales (quadriceps) and Christian Tiffert (ankle) for Saturday remains undetermined. Schmid said Rosales seems further along in his recovery. … The league-leading San Jose Earthquakes won a weighted lottery held Thursday for the rights to forward Marcus Tracy, the 2008 Hermann Award winner who is returning to this country after three seasons in Denmark. Each club’s chances were determined by their performance over their previous 34 matches (the equivalent of a full MLS season). San Jose had a 4.6 percent chance, higher only than Seattle’s 2.1 email@example.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt