(Editorial, July 8, 2018). Josef Martinez is slowly but surely becoming an MLS icon.
There’s no doubt about his capability to score and also his playmaking ability. Now the 25-year-old Venezuelan striker is chasing the MLS record for most goals scored in a single season.
Josef Martinez on His Way to Breaking MLS Goal-Scoring Record
Martinez leads MLS with 18 goals and has 14 games to break the record. His closest threats in the Golden Boot race are Columbus Crew SC‘s Gyasi Zardes, the New York Red Bulls‘ Bradley Wright-Phillips, and the LA Galaxy‘s Zlatan Ibrahimovic with 11 goals apiece.
So the Golden Boot is almost in the bag for Martínez, who also has three assists in the season and two in the last three games.
Tha Atlanta striker seems to be too comfortable in the United States. He has an MLS record-tying five hat-tricks since his arriving in the MLS, including two this season and four goals in the last three games.
He’s unstoppable and efficient. Martinez has netted 18 times thus far from 32 shots on target, that’s a remarkable feat and he has not enough of it.
Martínez struggled with injuries last season, which marked Atlanta’s debut in MLS, but still, they managed to qualify to the playoffs only to be eliminated in the knockout round by Columbus.
Now is the time for the Venezuelan to become a legend for his club and the whole league. Martinez can guide Atlanta to its first major title in US sports since 1995.
The objective looks touchable. Atlanta leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points. Ending in the first two spots will secure a spot in the conference semis and avoid the knockout round.
Martinez’s stats are outstanding, but they will look all the more impressive if it results in an MLS Cup title.
Is a Move to Europe on the Horizon?
Martinez seems he has just found his happy place in Atlanta. The fans love him and supported him when he was injured, so it appears he’s not going anywhere soon.
However, a call from Europe is always possible for a player of his caliber, so Martinez might return to Italy or go elsewhere in the future. He has enough talent to play in a world-class club.
The Venezuelan spent three seasons with Serie A club Torino before joining Atlanta. But his time there was all but great after scoring just 13 goals in 73 games.
Regardless of what the future holds, Martinez has business to finish in MLS. He has the chance to break the MLS goal-scoring record while also becoming the only player in league history with six hat-tricks. And all of it could result in the second-year club to championship glory.