The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the star striker sustained an injury – possibly an adductor problem – in Monday’s training session and did not travel to Florida with the team, leaving coach Frank de Boer short on frontrunners for the big cup clash with the Five Stripes’ Southern rivals. Other outlets subsequently confirmed the report.
The reigning MLS Golden Boot winner, Martinez has bagged 18 goals in 21 league matches to date this season and has been in particularly strong form as of late, with eight goals in his last six MLS matches. He’s also been particularly prolific against Orlando in his MLS career, scoring six goals in five matches against the Lions, including the strike that broke the all-time MLS single-season scoring record last year.
The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas notes that Tito Villalba, another Atlanta star who’s prospered vs. Orlando, could make his return from injury in relief of Josef, while Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez are also useful attacking options. Brandon Vazquez, the primary like-for-like No. 9 replacement on ATLUTD's roster, is currently sidelined with an adductor injury of his own.