Josef Martinez's latest Atlanta hat trick puts him in elite company

You probably don't need me to tell you that Josef Martinez is one of the hottest players in MLS. But his latest hat trick, in Atlanta United's 3-3 epic against rivals Orlando City has put him in some truly elite goalscoring company.

The three goals against Orlando – in front of an MLS single-game record crowd of 70,425 – came just three days after he put up a hat trick vs. New England, making him just the third player in MLS history to score three in consecutive games, per ESPN's Paul Carr. It also made him just the fifth player in league history to record three hat tricks in a season:

Martinez's prolific week (he also scored last Sunday against FC Dallas) has put him right up in the midst of the Golden Boot race with 16 goals to his name for the season, behind Diego Valeri and Nemanja Nikolic (17 each) and David Villa (19). But while all the players above him have hit those markts in 25 games or more, Martinez has done so in an eye-popping 14 games (11 starts). That output will likely lead him to the single most efficient goalscoring season in MLS history, and it might not even be close:

Believe it or not, though, Martinez does not hold the MLS record for most goals in three games despite his seven goals between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16. That record still belongs to Diego Serna, who netted eight between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, 2000.

Can Martinez win the Golden Boot? Should he be in the MVP conversation? Does he belong in the conversation as one of the greatest MLS goalscorers of all time? Weigh in below in the comments.

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