Atlanta United

Josef Martinez breaks MLS scoring record on 100th league appearance

Lizzy Becherano
Josef Martinez breaks MLS record on his 100th league appearance
Josef Martinez breaks MLS record on his 100th league appearance / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez celebrated his 100th league appearance by breaking the Major League Soccer record of most goals during that span in league history. 

The Venezuelan player has scored 85 goals since joining Atlanta United as a Designated Player from Torino in 2017.  

After scoring 19 goals in 20 matches during his debut season, the instrumental player went on a record-breaking campaign and became the first MLS player to win All-Star, regular season and MLS Cup MVP honors in the same season.

Martinez reflected on his reaching this monumental milestone by reminiscing on the struggles of his ACL injury and the road since. 

“Six months ago, I didn’t think I’d play again," he reflected. "I have my own goal, and I love this team. You know that already. That’s my job. My job is that one. I’m a striker. My job is to score. I’m so happy here. I try to help my teammates, and I’m so happy because 85 goals is not easy.”

"My goal is to get to 100 goals," he emphasized. "It’s something that I have talked about with the other people around me. It’d be very nice to do it, especially given all of the experiences that I’ve been through here. We’re still trying to improve and give back to the fanbase. Now, we’re fighting for these playoff spots. We deserve it.”

United head coach Gonzalo Pineda, who joined the Eastern Conference team from Seattle midseason, has been pleasantly surprised with the talent that Martinez brings to the team. 

"We're very happy for Josef's numbers, but I'm very happy for the heart that he puts on the field," Pineda said. "He's a team guy, he's a guy that is crazy for winning titles with this franchise, and that's what I love from the leaders of this team, whether it is Brad Guzan, whether it's Josef, they all want to succeed with this club because they love the club. Josef having 100 games with this club in MLS is just another remarkable stat for his amazing career in MLS, and I'm very happy for him. He's been fantastic since I'm here, and I think the best for Josef is just coming."

Atlanta United currently sit in seventh place with 33 points in 24 games, on the cusp of a 2021 playoff position. 

Martinez will be vital for United as they continue their campaign to qualify for the MLS postseason with only 10 matches remaining.