Josef Martinez provides fireworks for Atlanta United in win over San Jose

ATLANTA – Josef Martinez kept up his blazing hot goal-scoring form on Tuesday night, but he reserved the literal pyrotechnics for the post-match fireworks.

After Martinez scored with his head for his first goal of the night in a 4-2 victory against San Jose, he decided not to jump on top of the platform that shoots fire after every Atlanta United goal. (And the team seems to have learned their lesson from the last home match, when Martinez nearly got himself engulfed in flames during a goal celebration.)

“He’s definitely a dangerous guy,” said defender Greg Garza, who assisted on the first Martinez goal. “You put balls in the box and he jumps twice his height, so it was good he was there tonight.”

Martinez scored again in the 89th minute with a well-placed left-footed shot off the post. This time, he ripped off his shirt and twirled it around his head.

The striker has had much to celebrate this season, with nine goals in nine appearances, and only six starts. He now leads the team in goals, and if he hadn’t been injured for a good portion of the season, Martinez might be in the MLS Golden Boot race.

“Every time that he plays, he’s going to have the opportunity to score because his movement in the box is excellent and he’s able to get himself into good situations,” said Atlanta manager Tata Martino in the post-game press conference.

“He’s a goalscorer, that’s what he wants to do, that’s what he loves to do,” added Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst. “We know that at home he’s going to get his chances, he knows that. And he was very good again tonight for us.”

Adding fuel to the Martinez fire was last Saturday’s match against Columbus Crew SC. Atlanta won the game 2-0, but Martinez was visibly frustrated that he hadn’t scored before Martino subbed him off.

“[Martinez is] upset when he doesn’t [score goals],” said Parkhurst “That’s what you saw last week. I think maybe he was a little extra hungry, extra motivated tonight.”

Scoring a brace wasn’t the only thing Martinez’s coach and teammates praised him for tonight. He also completed all 22 of his passes, and he was able to leap high in the air to put a header on frame. The rebound fell to Carlos Carmona, who put away Atlanta’s first goal.

“I think Josef is a player who plays not only well as a center forward, but he knows how to play the game,” said Martino. “He understands, so he can do a lot of things for us aside from just scoring goals.”