He returned in 2021 and scored 12 goals in 24 appearances.
“I think our goal as a team is to be fighting for those places at the top of the standings, fighting to try and reach the final, and we're all going to give our best to be able to do that, and hopefully we're able to accomplish those things."
- Atlanta United's Josef Martinez
“We all know that last year was a complicated year,” he said. “Myself, but also as a team, we had our ups and downs, and I had some good days and some bad days in terms of my injury. So for me, it’s important to stay healthy.”
Martinez said he didn’t do anything differently this offseason and that he feels OK.
He said this is the first injury-free preseason he’s experienced in more than two years.
“Sometimes that preseason preparation is really important ... for what I’m going to try to do is to get the best of me to the best of my ability,” he said.
Asked if Atlanta United is closer to returning to playing with style and swagger than it did in 2017 and ‘18, Martinez said he doesn’t know. The team has gone through several managers since and has many new faces. Among the starters, only Martinez and goalkeeper Brad Guzan remain from the team that won the MLS Cup in 2018.
But he said the team is working toward that.
“We understand the expectations and the pressure that’s on us to be able to get back to competing for championships, and I also understand the pressure that’s on me every year,” he said. “But, you know, my goal is always to win every weekend. That’s the goal, and we’re going to work as hard as we can to get there and hopefully we’ll be able to stay 100%, or very close to it, healthy and be able to achieve our goal.”
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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule
Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m., FS1
March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1
March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 9 at Charlotte, 3 p.m., ESPN
April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
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, 2 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
Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
Aug. 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