Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez still being evaluated

The right knee of Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez was being evaluated again on Monday by the team’s medical staff, according to the club, after he was seen limping in the final minutes of Saturday’s 3-2 win against D.C. United.

The club said it had no more information about Martinez as of Monday afternoon as answers to questions about why the second exam was needed, what was being looked for and if his knee is swollen, which is typically not a good sign.

Manager Gonzalo Pineda said after the game that he thought Martinez was OK but also said the striker was undergoing an evaluation that was happening at the same time Pineda was speaking.

Martinez has undergone two surgeries on his knee in the past 18 months. The first surgery happened in March 2020 to repair a torn ACL sustained in last season’s MLS-opener at Nashville. Martinez missed the remainder of the season.

The second surgery happened in December to repair scar tissue and treat an infection. Martinez revealed that information earlier this season, adding that six months ago he wasn’t sure he would be able to play again.

Martinez also experienced issues with his knee in Sept. 2019 and October 2015. He only missed three games because of those issues, according to transfermarkt.us.

Martinez has scored a team-leading nine goals this season in 17 appearances.

Pineda said after the game that Martinez’s knee could be affected by playing two consecutive games on the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, combined with his recent travel to South America to play for Venezuela in its World Cup qualifying games.

Atlanta United has won seven of its past eight games to move into the playoff scenarios in the Eastern Conference. The team will play at Philadelphia on Saturday.

With 99 goals in his MLS career, Martinez would be difficult to replace should he be required to miss time. Three games ago, Pineda used a “false nine” formation that used Luiz Araujo and Ezequiel Barco as midfielders/strikers. The team also has Erick Torres and Jackson Conway as strikers.

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0

June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0

July 3 Chicago 3, Atlanta United 0

July 8 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

July 17 New England 1, Atlanta United 0

July 21 Atlanta United 1, Cincinnati 1

July 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

July 30 Orlando 3, Atlanta United 2

Aug. 4 Atlanta United 2, Montreal 2

Aug. 7 Atlanta United 3, Columbus 2

Aug. 15 Atlanta United 1, LAFC 0

Aug. 18 Atlanta United 1, Toronto

Aug. 21 Atlanta United 2, D.C. United 1

Aug. 28 Nashville 2, Atlanta United 0

Sept. 10 Atlanta United 3, Orlando 0

Sept. 15 Atlanta United 4, Cincinnati 0

Sept. 18 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 2

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE