Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez has manager Pineda’s confidence

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

CINCINNATI -- Despite being scoreless in his past seven games, and seemingly hesitant to shoot, Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez has manager Gonzalo Pineda’s support.

The manager said that strikers go through ups and downs but they don’t forget how to score.

“Maybe right now he’s not in one of those moments, right?” Pineda said. “So that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in Josef. I think he’s going to be still very important for us in the rest of the season.”

Martinez earned an assist on Andrew Gutman’s goal that tied the game at 2 in the 83rd minute Saturday night.

When Martinez was scoring at will for the team from 2017-19, he may have taken the shot instead of making the pass. It was at least the second time in the game that he played the ball to a teammate rather than shoot.

Martinez is just one goal away from hitting 100 in MLS regular season and playoff games.

Pineda said that once Martinez hits that milestone it may help him relax. He would accomplish the feat faster than anyone player in league history. He has scored 94 goals in 124 regular-season games. Bradley Wright-Phillips needed 159 matches to reach the century mark in regular-season games.

“I think sometimes that settles down the confidence in the belief, and then magically, he starts to score goals,” Pineda said.

Pineda used L.A. Galaxy’s Javier Hernandez and Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez as examples of the importance of confidence in strikers.

Hernandez scored two goals in 12 appearances in his first season for the Galaxy. He scored 26 goals in his past 42 appearances. Vazquez had nine goals from 2017-22. With a goal against Atlanta United on Saturday, he has 15 this season.

“I think he’s going to have more opportunities to score goals, and he’s gonna do OK,” Pineda said of Martinez.

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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 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2

May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1

June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0

June 25 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 1

June 30 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1

July 3 Atlanta United 2, NYCFC 2

July 9 Austin 3, Atlanta United 0

July 13 Atlanta United 2, Real Salt Lake 1

July 17 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

July 24 L.A. Galaxy 2, Atlanta United 0

July 30 Atlanta United 0, Chicago 0

August 6 Atlanta United 2, Seattle 1

August 13 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 2

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 5:30 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

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