Since his historic club first hat-trick during the 5-0 rout against Tacoma Defiance in the USL Championship, Real Monarchs SLC forward Douglas Martinez has been featured prominently for the Honduran U-23 National Team, making waves on the road to the 2020 Olympics and in the 2019 Pan American Games.
“It was an amazing experience, playing in the Pan-American games and winning the silver medal,” Martinez said on Tuesday after training. “It was tremendous for the whole team and it was a great tournament, not only for me but for the whole team. I am very happy for the opportunity.”
During the qualifying tournament on the CONCACAF side, Martinez helped lift his side to victory in a 5-0 aggregate against the Nicaragua U-23s. Martinez earned a second assist in the second leg when he picked up a thrown in ball and snuck in a back-heel pass near the end line to find his Honduran teammate, Jose Pinto in behind the Nicaraguan defense. Pinto passed the ball low to the center of the box to Jose Reyes who put away the goal. The Monarchs striker played 167 minutes to help Honduras qualify for the 2020 Olympics and moved on with his country to the 2019 Pan American Games.
Martinez and the Honduran U-23s just survived the group stages of the Pan American Games after picking up four points across three games to edge out Jamaica in the Group Stage. The Monarchs forward tallied a goal in the 77th minute against Jamaica with a low headed effort that was deflected, but quickly cleaned up and put home. After the dominating 3-1 win over Jamaica, Honduras went on to pull out a thrilling stoppage-time 2-2 draw against Peru before falling 3-0 to Uruguay to finish 2nd in the Group Stage and advance to the semifinal to face Mexico.
Douglas Martinez started and played 120 minutes against the Mexico U-23s, converting the first shot in the penalty shoot-out to help push the Honduran side into the final of the 2019 Pan American Games. Martinez tallied another goal in the final against Argentina when he put away the equalizer to go into the halftime break level at 1-1, but Argentina took control in the second half and Martinez and the Honduran U-23s earned Silver for the first time since picking up the medal in 1999 after falling by the same scoreline. Throughout the 2019 Pan American Games, Martinez scored three goals – including the one scored in the shootout to decide the semifinal – with four out of seven shots on target and played all 480 minutes for his side.
Martinez now returns to Utah where he will rejoin Real Monarchs for its final 13 games of its 2019 campaign as it tries to close the gap with the Western Conference leaders.
“We are going to keep working, always trying to get better as a team,” Martinez commented upon returning to the Monarchs. “We will keep working hard and continue to do the same as we have been doing. Making the playoffs is very important to us, so we just have to continue and work hard.
The first opportunity comes on Friday when fourth-place Real Monarchs SLC visits Fresno, California to face off against third-place Fresno FC. The contest is set for Friday, August 16 where kickoff from Chukchansi Park is set for 8:30 p.m. MT and is available to watch LIVE on ESPN+.