ATLANTA — Josef Martinez continues his scoring streak as he scored twice to give Atlanta a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.
At the 12th minute of the first half, a series of passes between Pity Martinez and Franco Escobar led Pity to finding an open Josef Martinez, who had no problems putting the ball into the back of the net.
Throughout the rest of the first half, both teams had their chances to score but neither could capitalize off their opportunities and it looked like the first half would end with just one goal.
But at the 43rd minute, Josef Martinez was able to get past two defenders and dribbled from midfield down to Chicago’s goal and shot the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, an area where Chicago goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm had no chance of even getting a finger on it.
The goal by Josef marked his 10th of the season, which puts him in second place as the top goalscorer in MLS, behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela.
“I think in the last couple of weeks, we talked about this stretch that we had with a lot of games and you saw during the game that people were really tired. (Chicago) had the same schedule this last week, so I think it was quite fair to both teams,” Atlanta United Manager Frank De Boer said. “I think they need a little break right now. Normally you would think ‘we want to continue in this rhythm,’but I think they really deserve a break and focus on the U.S. Open Cup.”
The second half saw Atlanta have several opportunities to increase its lead but Chicago goalkeeper Kronholm would come away with spectacular plays of his own that prevented Atlanta from increasing its lead.
Heading into the three-week international break, Atlanta will finish with 26 points, which puts them into the top-three of the Eastern Conference.
The Five Stripes will be back in action June 26, when the team travels to Toronto in MLS play. Meanwhile in Open Cup play, the team will travel to Charleston to take on the Battery on June 11.
De Boer said that the team will have five days off and will then start getting ready for the matchup against the Battery, as they will take the tournament very seriously because the winner gets an automatic bid to the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.
Man of the Match:
None other than the current MLS MVP, Josef Martinez. Josef scored two goals against Chicago and has scored four in the last two games. Also, Josef has scored a total of 10 goals this season, which puts him in second place for MLS top goalscorer, behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela. Josef will play one more match at Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday but this time, he will be wearing Venezuela’s kit, as the Vinotinto will take on Mexico.
“It is going to be special because this is my home, so it is going to be a little strange to put on a different jersey in this stadium, but to wear the National Team jersey here means a lot. We have to enjoy this game, so I am going to try and enjoy it, and I hope the fans enjoy it as well,” Martinez said. “You know, memories last a lot longer than your career, so when you are done playing, these are the memories that you look back on that you have.”