Camp Chronicles — The Final Countdown

Mario Martinez is quickly becoming the answer to Seattle’s goal scoring problems against Real Salt Lake — the question though is if that form holds true through three regal season matches as well.

While the boys in Rave Green are still down in sunny Tuscon, Ariz., it’s not all fun and games as Seattle Sounders FC now heads into their most grueling week of pre-season action this season.

Three matches away the Sounders this week as the Desert Diamond Cup is still underway through Saturday, and the Sounders are also playing Mexican side Veracruz Friday. The three-match-week will not only test the squad’s fitness, but depth as well.

Here are some news and notes to look through heading into this busy, but exciting week of soccer.

— The Sounders got off to a perfect start in the Desert Diamond Cup, gathering a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake Saturday. Both sides started the game with near first choice players who battled to a  scoreless first half. The second 45 minutes featured a wave of reserves, trialists and rookies for the Rave Green, but that’s where the goals came from — a strong sign of early roster depth. Honduran international Mario Martinez opened the scoring in the 66th minute with a picture perfect black past RSL keeper Nick Rimando that was reminiscent of his series-winning goal last October in the MLS Cup Playoffs at Rio Tinto Stadium.

This only adds to my love of the Central American attacker who was given a free attacking role from manager Sigi Schmid in the match. Now the question for Schmid isn’t IF he starts Martinez to open the season, but WHERE to slot him. He could be something very special for the Sounders this season.

The second goal for the Sounders came in the 69th minute when trialist Philip Lund bounced on an Rimando rebound off an Ozzie Alonso shot and knocked it in from 10 yards out. It was Lund’s first goal as a Sounder, and could be a good sign for the Danish forward/midfielder as he’s looking to get a contract out of this long preseason look.

— One name that continues to be silent on the other hand is that of midfielder Christian Tiffert. As I said last week Tiffy isn’t with the club in Arizona right now and his name has not been mentioned by Schmid or anyone else on the club. No new news ere, but still bet on him not being in Rave Green come March 2.

— The next Desert Diamond Cup match for the Sounders takes place tomorrow (2/20/13 at 6 p.m.) and can be seen right here on NASORB.com as the Sounders take on the New York Red Bulls. This will be  a side mostly made up of reserves, although a  few key starters may find some first half minutes. Regardless of the result, the Sounders will be playing in Saturday’s nationally televised final on NBC Sports Network — the time and opponent have yet to be decided for that match.

— In between the NY match and Cup final, the Sounders will play their most important preseason match as they take on Mexican side Veracruz at 6 p.m. Friday in Tuscon. This match is a preparation for the Sounders CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tilt against Tigres on March 6 (in Monterey, Mexico) and March 12 (CenturyLink Field).

— Finally, there’s not a sports team in America right now that isn’t celebrating a win with the “Harlem Shake” — including the Sounders.