Idolized at Atlanta United where he is the franchise player and the hero of the only title won by the club in the historic 2018 season, Josef Martínez continues to increase his statistics in Major League Soccer, despite the injuries that have affected his performance since the season of 2020.
On Tuesday, Josef scored the 100th goal with the Atlanta jersey and became the player who crowned such a figure the fastest, including regular season and postseason matches, The Valencian got the figure in 136 games in the league, 24 fewer than the former holder of the mark, English striker Brandley Wright-Phillips, who did it in 160 New York Red Bulls games, according to official MLS statistics (@optajack).
The Valencian scored the significant goal in the last minute of the clash to cover up Atlanta's 1-2 defeat precisely against the same team from the Big Apple, where fellow Venezuelan Cristian Cásseres plays.
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This Atlanta has little to do with the one that freely dominated the MLS in 2018 with Josef setting a record for goals in a season with 35. The transfer of his main partner in attack, the Paraguayan Miguel Almirón, who ended up in Newcastle from the Premier League of England, and the departure of Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, put an end to a game system tailored for the Valencian to exploit his resources.
In Tuesday's game, Josef Martinez struggled to receive passes that would allow him to break New York's defensive line. He barely had two clear chances. The first was created by himself with a half volley shot on the edge of the area and the second came almost at the end of the match, when he received a clearance between the lines that left him facing the goal to define his usual mastery.
The defeat complicated Josef's main aspiration of the season: to get his team to the knockout stage. Right now they are out of that phase by sitting 13th with 29 points in the tight Western Conference, but the goal is still within reach. Because the difference with Orlando City, owner of the seventh place that gives access to the next round is only four points, and there are still nine dates left for the "King" of Atlanta revive the dreams of winning another championship.