Josef Martinez Turns in the Hat Trick to Treat Atlanta United FC Fans
Atlanta, GA. The Five Stars returned for the second home game of the season with an aggressive nature. They brought all their rowdy friends for a match straight out of the wild wild west. Atlanta United dominated the game in every critical category. They had 21 shots with 4 on target, 1 Yellow Card, and committed 14 fouls in a display of their aggressive nature. I don’t mind the fouls because it sets the tone for the match. In any sport, the team that plays to their pace usually win that is exactly why Atlanta United took out the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1.
They went to the go-to man Josef Martinez early, but the ball went flying high off his mighty foot. In fact, most of the Five Star shots were high heaters. Martinez managed to get his aim adjusted to the target and turned in the Hat Trick, three goals in spectacular fashion. Hector Villalba tried a twisting bicycle at the five-minute mark but shot wide left. They certainly feed off the energy the home crowd at Mercedes Benz Stadium simply put the place is electric with chants throughout the game with flags waving to the heartbeat of the team.
An early free-kick left two Five Star players on the turf. After a lengthy lay, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez managed to pick himself up. The play resulted in a red card on Kendall Waston for violent conduct which caused him to blow his stack. Efrain Juarez got involved and was shown a Yellow Card. Vancouver was going after every color in the match.
Josef Martinez did his favorite pose after scoring the games first point on a penalty shot that put Goalie Stefan Marinovic in headlights. He anticipated diving right for the block, but the scoring machine tapped it left for the score. Hector Villalba made a steal, broke into the open field and lead a three on one thrilling anticipatory fast break his right-footed pass to Martinez went a little wide Josef drove it back in front of the net too strong; it went awry. Nonetheless, the crowd was filled with excitement, anticipating the score.
The Half Time Stoppage came with Atlanta United leading the Match 1-0.
Josef had 3 shots and the only score of the match. Atlanta United was dominating attempting 10 shots and committing 7 fouls. Vancouver had only 1 shot and 4 fouls. Atlanta United was firmly in control. Then an unorthodox play by Vancouver’s (OG) Aaron Maund his foot went the wrong way accidentally kicking the ball into the net to give Atlanta United a gifted goal to make the score 2-0. Two minutes later, Josef Martinez found himself in the mists of a one on one breakaway with no players between him and the net except the lone Goalie Stefan Marinovic.
I wonder what he was thinking as he saw the scoring machine approaching in 3 D motion. It was graphic a blazing kick beyond outstretched hands. Erik Hurtado scored in the 85th minute with a sliding kick around Goalie Brad Guzan who charged the play outside of the box to make the score 3-1. Josef Martinez responded with a diving head punch to turn in the Hat Trick at the 87 minute. He celebrated with a double polarizing stare to the crowd. He exited the match in the 90th minute to a standing ovation with the title Major League Soccers’ Goal Leader with 4.
Interesting Facts about the Match
Atlanta United FC fired 21 shots with only 4 on target
Vancouver finished with only 5 total shots with 2 on target 3 yellow cards and 1 red card