And with nine matches still left in Atlanta's regular season, the narrative has long shifted from "Can he break the record?" to "How untouchable is the new record he sets going to be?"
Martinez's goal draws him level with the very best goal-scoring seasons in MLS history. Roy Lassiter (1996), Chris Wondolowski (2012) and Bradley Wright-Phillips (2014) are all tied for the record with 27 goals in a single campaign.
The Venezuelan has scored in 12 of his last 13 games, for an astonishing 19 goals. But if he fails to hit the back of the net again on Sunday, the record is likely to fall on the road, as the Five Stripes play their next four matches away from home before returning to Atlanta on September 22. For context, the longest consecutive games he's gone without scoring in his MLS career is just two, which has only happened twice.
How has Martinez done against the Crew SC in his career?
Martinez has done fine, nothing out of the ordinary. In three previous regular-season appearances, he has two goals. He only has 154 minutes over those three matches, though. One appearance was a 27-minute cameo off the bench in 2017 and, earlier this season, he exited at halftime. Oddly enough, his longest appearance against Crew SC (82 minutes) was the only time he failed to score.
There is the memorable 2017 playoff game, though. Martinez and his teammates couldn't beat the brick wall that was Zack Steffen as Crew SC advanced on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes. He had three shots over 114 minutes, including this one.
Can we learn anything from the form of either Atlanta or Columbus?
Columbus has won three games in a row, including a shutout against Houston Dynamo in their last game. But that was at home. In their last three road games, against some of the league's best attacks, they haven't been impervious to conceding.
Meanwhile, mostly due to Martinez, Atlanta has been scoring buckets of goals at home this season. ATL has six goals in their last three home games against Toronto FC (2), D.C. United (3) and Seattle Sounders (1).
How many of Martinez's goals come at home during his MLS career?
Martinez has scored 32 of his 47 MLS goals at home in 26 appearances.
Lastly, how is Martinez's goalscoring form looking like recently?
In a few words: very good.
In a few more words: very, very, very good.
Because it's worth repeating: HE'S SCORED 19 TIMES IN HIS LAST 13 GAMES. If his season started on May 30, he'd still be three goals clear of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wright-Phillips in the Golden Boot race.
So, yeah, he's in a decent run of form.