Though Pity Martinez said he felt no frustration in his wait to score for Atlanta United, after it happened to clinch Sunday’s 1-0 win over Orlando at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, his celebration may have indicated that he had been a bit worried.
After his left-footed strike in the 14th minute, Martinez began brushing off his back and legs.
“To get rid of the bad energy from not having scored in a while,” he said.
The wait was long, but the result has been coming for the past few games.
After a celebrated career with River Plate in his native Argentina that included a Copa Libertadores title and a South American Player of the Year award, Martinez’s start with Atlanta United and MLS was rough.
No goals, no assists and some moments of frustration through the four Champions League games and the first seven league games. That frustration may have boiled over with an outburst on the sidelines after being subbed against Colorado on April 27.
But things soon began to improve as Martinez grew more comfortable with his team, the league, the culture.
Martinez agreed he felt as comfortable as he has all season at Sporting KC, and then had a man of the match type performance against Toronto.
Martinez said last week that everyone needed to remain patient.
“There’s pressure on all of us,” goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “We are at a big club. We do big things here in Atlanta. We have a fantastic fan base. There’s pressure on all of us to perform at a high level. We aren’t here to accept mediocrity. So we push each other every day. It’s about getting better every day in training and having those performances shine through on a game day. He’s certainly turned a corner from an individual point of view.”
That patience was rewarded with the goal.
“Zero frustration,” he said. “I come from a big club in South America and well-known around the whole world so there was zero pressure. I had the confidence of my teammates that it was going to come at some point, and today it came and the team can keep winning which is the most important and no we have to keep this up next game.”
Southern Fried Soccer Podcasts
Follow me on twitter @DougRobersonAJC
On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now
Atlanta United coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.