The Venezuelan has closed the gap on league leader Carlos Vela to resume his assault on the MLS record book
Josef Martinez continues to assault the MLS record book, breaking a mark he shared with Diego Valeri to set a new league record by scoring in 10 straight matches as Atlanta took a 2-1 win over New York City FC.
Martinez set the single-season scoring mark for the league last year with 31 goals, four better than the 27 of the previous record held jointly by held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski, and Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The 26-year-old also holds the league’s all-time record for hat-tricks with six, his last coming in July of last year against D.C. United.
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It seemed for a time like 2018 might be something of a down year, but the recent run of form for Martinez has turned that around.
Over the course of the last 10 matches the Atlanta forward has struck 15 times, pulling him to within two goals of Carlos Vela, who it seemed would run away with the league’s scoring title this season, with the Mexican on pace to pass Martinez’s record mark from last year.
The uptick in form has been great for Atlanta, with the club picking up seven wins over the course of his scoring run and moving back to the top of the Eastern Conference table on Sunday.
Martinez put the Five Stripes a goal to the good just before halftime with a towering header following a cross from Julian Gressel before doubling the lead from the penalty spot in the second half.
Martinez has now scored 70 times in 76 MLS matches, winning the league’s MVP award in 2018 on the way to claiming MLS Cup with Atlanta.
It marks the most prolific scoring run over a three-year period for any player in league history.
His availability for Sunday’s contest was up in the air heading into the match, with a groin injury having limited his participation in practice and seen him on the injury report for the club.
He looked somewhat off the pace early on when he went to ground and clutched at the injured area, but was obviously fit enough to lead his side to victory, the club’s 10th win in their last 11 home matches.