Josef Martinez Sets MLS Single-Season Scoring Record, But It Wasn’t Even The Best Goal Of The Match

Josef Martinez is now the Barry Bonds of Major League Soccer.

Josef Martinez is the new Roger Maris. The new Mark McGwire. The new Barry Bonds. Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez now owns the MLS single-season scoring record.

Martinez scored in the 74th minute, his 28th goal this season, breaking a four-way tie for the MLS single-season scoring record. The record was previously held by Tampa Bay Mutiny’s Roy Lassiter (1996), San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski (2012) and New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips (2014). 

Oh, and it was the match winner, as Atlanta defeated rival Orlando City SC 2-1. 

Anyone old enough to remember Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s chase of Roger Maris’ home run record in 1998 knows the thrill of chasing history. But Josef Martinez's quest was more reminiscent of Barry Bonds' chase, as Martinez took some of the fun out of it by just obliterating the record, breaking the mark with eight games left on the schedule. 

At the age of 25, Martinez has already eclipsed every MLS striker before him, including the likes of as Stern John, Carlos Ruiz, Taylor Twellman, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. He now has 47 goals in less than two seasons in MLS, including an absurd record of six hat tricks, most in MLS history.

Here’s the goal that set the MLS single-season scoring record. It was a lovely bit of skill that showcased how he reached this point: great passing from his teammates, sublime technical ability, patience in the box and a killer instinct in the final third. 

You’ve got to love Alejandro Moreno absolutely having a ball watching a fellow Venezuelan set the MLS single-season scoring record. Moreno, who played for six different MLS clubs and won three MLS Cups and four Supporter’s Shields, has to be one of the most likable announcers in MLS, even if he can get a bit goofy sometimes. 

And yet, Martinez’s goal wasn’t even the best goal of the match. While Atlanta won 2-1, Orlando's Scott Sutter scored a beauty in the 39th minute.

Admittedly it was against the run of play, but that doesn’t take away from the superb technique to blast the ball into the back of the net after a couple nice passes. 

Not that anyone will remember in a few years. Friday night belonged to Josef Martinez.

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