Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez is tired.
At least he was on Friday, but still managed to score the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Orlando.
Now, he may have to do it again on Tuesday when Atlanta United hosts Minnesota in the U.S. Open Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Should Atlanta United win, it will be its third trophy in nine months and will earn a berth in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.
“We felt tired,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I just said it to some of the guys, I felt tired all day, even at the hotel. You can never underestimate the champion. “Now we have to get ready for a final on Tuesday.”
Yes. And then again next Saturday in what will likely a showdown at Philadelphia for first place in the MLS East.
Then, finally, Atlanta United, which feels like it has been on the go since it broke camp in January, will get a break of almost two weeks.
While most of the team’s other players did get a break in June, Martinez didn’t because he was called up by Venezuela to play in the Copa America. He said it would be nice to not get called up by his country during the upcoming two weeks, which coincides with a FIFA window for international games.
“It would be important if I don’t go with the national team, to get some rest,” he said.
Martinez isn’t the only player who is tired. Manager Frank de Boer said the team looked tired. Justin Meram said the team looked sluggish, particularly in the first half, because of Friday’s heat and humidity.
Fridays’ game was Atlanta United’s sixth since the start of the month and included a trip to Portland.
Meram said he thinks the players will be ready for the Open Cup because they will get to rest on Saturday. Manager Frank de Boer likely won’t have the team train much on Sunday or Monday, and the players can take advantage of having most of Tuesday.
“We have a good amount of time to recover and prepare for a trophy at home,” he said.
De Boer said he wants to play with the strongest team on Tuesday, but won’t hesitate to rotate players. Eric Remedi played just 45 minutes because he is coming back from an adductor injury that forced him to miss the past two games. Darlington Nagbe left Friday’s game in the second half becuase de Boer said he “felt something” while pointing to his legs.
If they are fine, they should be fresh for Tuesday. The team also has relatively unused legs on the bench in left wingback Dion Pereira, centerback Michael Parkhurst, defensive midfielder Mo Adams and striker Tito Villalba, among others, that de Boer can use.
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