Josef Martinez’s Scoring Spree Puts Atlanta United on Top of M.L.S.

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Josef Martinez simply retains scoring.

When enlargement Atlanta United picked up the striker on mortgage from Torino final season, there was nothing to point that he would change into a breakout star. In 58 Italian league video games over three seasons, he had scored seven objectives.

However upon his arrival in america, Martinez virtually instantly started discovering the web, and Atlanta rapidly executed its choice to purchase him completely for about $5 million. He was restricted by two damage spells to 20 video games, however he powered in 19 objectives. That ranked him fourth within the league, behind three gamers who performed 30 or extra video games every. His group overachieved as effectively, making a visit to the playoffs in its inaugural season.

This season, he’s having the alternative of a sophomore hunch. Martinez has appeared in all 23 league video games for Atlanta and he has stored up the dizzying goal-a-game tempo, scoring 24. He towers excessive of the chief board, 9 objectives forward of runner-up Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the L.A. Galaxy. He additionally leads the desk with eight game-winning objectives.

His six profession hat tips, in a season and a half of play, are already the M.L.S. file. And he’s closing in on a extra venerable mark. Roy Lassiter scored 27 objectives for the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996. The mark has been matched twice, by Chris Wondolowski in 2012 and Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2014, however by no means exceeded. Barring damage or a catastrophic lack of type, Martinez ought to obliterate it.

Martinez has a close to William Inform-like accuracy: 65 % of his pictures are on purpose, the very best price among the many high 10 scorers, most of whom are below 50 %. He additionally has a knack for scoring headers, regardless of being solely 5-foot-7, due to his leaping means.

A few of the credit score for Martinez’s prolific scoring has gone to Gerardo Martino, the group’s coach. He arrived in Atlanta with a glittering resume that included stints at Barcelona and the Argentine nationwide group, and lived as much as it by guiding United to on the spot success. Maybe sensing he had a purpose scorer on his fingers, he additionally shifted Martinez to middle ahead.

“Josef got here right here with out actually enjoying a lot as a middle ahead earlier than,” he instructed Univision. “He got here right here and tailored very effectively, and that may be seen.”

And Atlanta is exceeding final 12 months’s maiden efficiency; the group has the very best file within the league.

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