Josef Martinez stretched his MLS record to 15 consecutive league games with a brace in the span of six minutes in the second half to lift Atlanta United to a much-needed 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati Wednesday at Nippert Stadium.
Martinez opened the scoring in the 59th minute on an perfectly-executed counter following a Frankie Amaya corner kick. After Brad Guzan punched out, the ball was chipped out of the box to Martinez, who slipped a pass to Pity Martinez to orchestrate a 2-v-2 break.
With FC Cincinnati still stunned, Josef put the game away in the 65th minute with a goal of pure individual class. He took Julian Gressel’s pass off his back heel, cut inside Maikel van der Werff and then sliced a sliding Nick Hagglund before a clinical finish inside the far post for his 26th goal of the season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Coming off a listless home loss to Columbus Crew SC, Atlanta needed a win to stay in the race for first place in the East. They looked to be the second best team until Josef’s magic and now are one point behind the second-place Philadelphia Union and six off the pace-setters in NYCFC. The chances were there for FC Cincinnati, but the hosts were punished for not being clinical in the final third.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: All the Five Stripes needed was the first Josef goal. The second one was so special it was even applauded by Cincinnati coach Ron Jans. Do watch it again.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: In case there was any question, the Golden Boot presented by Audi race is truly on. Only two goals separate Carlos Vela, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Josef heading into the stretch drive of the regular season. Pull up a chair, this is going to be fun.