In perhaps one of the least surprising outcomes of the season, Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez was named the Alcatel MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 21.
Atlanta United defeated D.C. United, 3-1, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, with Martinez recording a historic hat trick to set a new MLS record with six career hat tricks. In 22 games this season, Martinez is the league’s Golden Boot leader with 22 goals, becoming the first player in MLS history to score 22 goals through the first 22 games in a season. Atlanta United sit first in the Eastern Conference with 44 points (13-4-5 overall record).
Martinez scored his first goal of the match with a 30th-minute equalizer, beating D.C. United keeper David Ousted to a Hector Villalba aerial cross and finishing with a header to the left of goal. Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute when Martinez finished a deflected cross with another header at the far post.
The Venezuelan international showed his impressive skills once again in the 73rd minute with his third goal of the match to break the MLS record and grab his sixth career hat trick. Martinez intercepted an attempted clearance from defender Steve Birnbaum and forced Ousted to dive the wrong way with a cutback move, setting up an open net for for the easy finish.