Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez became the MLS single-season scoring leader when he notched his 28th goal in the 74th minute of Friday’s game at Orlando.
Martinez was tied with Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips for the record. Martinez has eight remaining to extend the mark.
“It’s a big relief for me,” Martinez said.
Martinez said he’s going to frame the orange, Nike cleats he wore during the game. He said that was going to be the only memento he keeps from the historic night.
On the play, Martinez said he had to think fast. He thought Orlando centerback Jonathan Spector was getting close, so he needed to shoot it quickly. After making a move to create space, he hit the chip.
“We knew Josef was going to break the record, it was just a matter of he did it sooner or later,” Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino said. “The good thing is he did it sooner, so now this will calm him down. On top of that he did it with a very nice goal.”
After scoring, Martinez stared down Bendik because he didn’t like some of the things he was saying about how long it was taking Atlanta United to take corner kicks, before taking off his jersey and running to the corner where Atlanta United’s supporters were.
Fans of Martinez in Venezuela began tweeting celebratory notes to their countrymen. A TV crew of Venezuelan journalists attended the game.
“I received a lot of messages and before the game there was a lot of pressure when you get close to a record like this,” he said. “You are thinking about a lot of things. But I just want to say I’m grateful for my family, my teammates, my coaching staff, everybody.”
Martinez scored for the ninth consecutive game, which ties him with Portland’s Diego Valeri for most consecutive games with a goal.
Julian Gressel earned the assist. Of his 10 assists this season, nine have come on Martinez’s goals, including on the record-tying goal in last week’s win against Columbus.
“Josef is incredible,” Gressel said. “There are no words to say about him. He’s unbelievable.”
MLS Single Season Goals Record
Goals Player Team Year
1. 28 Josef Martinez (ATLUTD), 2018
t-2. 27 Roy Lassiter (Tampa Bay), 1996
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose), 2012
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), 2014
t-3. Stern John (Columbus), 1998
Mamadou Diallo (Tampa Bay) 2000
t-4. 24 Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles), 2002
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), 2016
Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago), 2017
t-5. 23 Raul Diaz Arce (D.C. United), 1996
Taylor Twellman (New England), 2002
David Villa (NYCFC), 2016
t-6. Camilo Sanvezzo (Vancouver), 2013
Dom Dwyer (Sporting KC), 2014
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto), 2015
Kei Kamara (Columbus), 2015
David Villa (NYCFC), 2017
t-7. 21 Eduardo Hurtado (Los Angeles), 1996
Mike Magee (Chicago), 2013
Diego Valeri (Portland), 2017
2. David Villa (NYCFC), 45, 2016-17
t- 3. Stern John (Columbus), 44, 1998-99
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), 44, 2014-15
5. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose), 43, 2011-12
t-6. Taylor Twellman (New England), 41, 2002-03
Raul Diaz Arce (D.C. United), 41, 1996-97
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), 41, 2016-17
Consecutive games with goals
t-1. Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), 9, 2018
Diego Valeri (Portland), 9, 2017
t- 2. Raul Diaz Arce (D.C. United), 7, 1997
Wolde Harris (New England), 7, 2000
Carlos Ruiz (Dallas), 7, 2006
Career hat tricks
Player, number of games, number of hat tricks
1. Josef Martinez*, 42, 6
t-2. Stern John, 55, 5
Diego Serna, 124, 5
t-3. Edson Buddle, 304, 4
Mamadou Diallo, 74, 4
Landon Donovan, 340, 4
* - active