Josef Martinez has cranked up his scoring rate to the stratospheric levels that powered his capture of the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award last year, and Atlanta United are riding his coattails right up the Eastern Conference table.
The Venezuelan shook off an adductor injury to bang home both of the Five Stripes' tallies in a well-earned 2-1 victory over New York City FC on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, setting a new MLS record by extending his scoring streak to 10 consecutive games with a goal. That runs his season total to 20, just two back of current Golden Boot leader Carlos Vela.
NYCFC battled well in the hostile environs of MBS and a late finish by Heber kept them in the running until the very end, but a few missed chances and Martinez's clinical quality dashed their hopes of a positive road result.
- 42' — ATL — Josef Martinez | WATCH
- 63' — ATL — Josef Martinez (PK) | WATCH
- 81' — NYC — Heber | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Are the dazzling, overwhelming ATLUTD of old finally rearing their fearsome heads? That was the sense after this one, though NYCFC's tactical plan made sense and a cooler finishing touch here and there could've changed the story dramatically. Atlanta are now tied for first in the East, and a 10-1-3 mark at MBS is a huge reason why.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The game's opening goal. Just as the ESPN commentary crew were discussing whether Josef's adductor issue was slowing him down, the striker soared high above Maxime Chanot to snap a majestic header past Sean Johnson.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Three words — Josef, Josef, Josef.
- ATL: Wednesday, Aug. 14 vs. Club América | Campeones Cup (8 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás)
- NYC: Saturday, Aug. 17 at FC Cincinnati (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)