Josef Martinez happy to break MLS scoring record: "It's a big relief"

ORLANDO, Fla. — Josef Martinez knew his record-breaking goal was going to come.

A week after tying the MLS single-season scoring record, the Venezuelan broke the record with his 28th goal of the 2018 season in a 2-1 win for Atlanta United over Orlando City on Friday. Martinez broke the record set in 1996 by Roy Lassiter and subsequently matched by Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

“I’m happy with where we came to play. I’m very happy because like I said last week, if I reached 28 I would be very happy, happier than ever. I’m happy to get the record and the three points,” said Martinez after scoring the game-winning goal in the 74th minute.

Martinez said heading into the game there was some anxiety to break the single-season scoring record, but he found peace of mind after the big goal.

“it is a big relief for me,” said Martinez. “When I went into the locker room laughing, the guys were making jokes about it and now I can make jokes back to them.”

Martinez has scored at a remarkable rate to date in MLS. His 28 goals this season have come in just 26 games, and across his two seasons with Atlanta, he's scored 47 goals in 46 appearances. It is arguably the very best two-season spell for a scorer in MLS history.

When asked how many goals he aims to finish the 2018 season, the Venezuelan said he’s more focused on helping the team, who continue to lead the Supporters' Shield race, now sitting five points ahead of the New York Red Bulls before the Red Bulls' game on Sunday.

With the record out of the way, for Atlanta coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino, it's time to focus on the next task.

“With Josef, we knew he was going to break the record,” said Martino. “It was just a matter of if he could do it sooner or later. The good thing is he did it sooner. Now this will calm him down. On top of that, he did it with a very nice goal.”