The team isn’t without resources or players who can score.
And there is this: Atlanta United hasn’t had to rely on Martinez to score to win this season. It’s clear that Martinez still isn’t what he once was when he scored 77 goals in his first three seasons. He’s not making hard runs at defenders. He seldom tries to win aerial duels. He’s dropping back more and more to become a facilitator for his teammates rather than staying on the shoulders of centerbacks like he used to. Some of that may be tactics. In the past year, his average goals of 0.62 per 90 minutes puts him in the top 90% of MLS, according to fbref.com. But there are issues: his dribbles completed puts him in the lower 9% in MLS. His shot-creating actions puts him in the lower 35%. His progressive carries puts him in the lower 27%.
With Martinez not playing well, others have stepped up. Eight different players this season have scored for the Five Stripes, which have nine goals. The number of scorers is tied with LAFC for the league’s most. In the past three games, it has taken seven points with goals scored in stoppage time. Martinez, who has two goals this season, scored none of them. Jake Mulraney scored the winner against Charlotte. Brooks Lennon scored the tying goal against Montreal. Moreno scored the winner against D.C. United.
Consider that last season, when Martinez scored the team went 7-1-3. This season, it is 1-0-1. When he didn’t last season, the team went a respectable 6-8-9. This season it is 2-1-0.
There is more to Martinez than his scoring. There is his intensity. There is his demanding nature. That will be a challenge to replace.
“It’s not just his quality,” winger Mulraney said. “Like his presence, you know, he’s got got quite a good presence around the changing room in terms of making people lift their game, maybe 5 to 10%.”
The team has the confidence built from securing three positive results in stoppage time of its past three games to help buoy its spirits, as well.
“That shows a character, and also shows a quality, you know, fitness as well to keep going,” Mulraney said.
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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule
Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1
March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0
March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1
March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3
April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0
April 10 at Charlotte, 1:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN Deportes
April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., Peachtree TV
April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN
April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN
May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX
May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2
June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC
July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1
July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX
Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE