Josef Martinez was justly rewarded for his two hat-tricks last week. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
NEW YORK – In what should come as no surprise to anyone, Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez was voted the Major League Soccer player of the week by the North American Soccer Reporters, the league announced Tuesday.
Martínez recorded two hat-tricks to lead Atlanta to a pair of results, first dispatching the New England Revolution 7-0 in midweek action followed by a 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC Saturday.
The Venezuela national team forward became only the third player in MLS history to register back-to-back hat -tricks as he has accrued 16 goals in just 14 games, tied for third in the Golden Boot race. In the midst of a four-game unbeaten streak in which Martínez has scored seven goals, Atlanta sits in fifth place in Eastern Conference standings (12-8-7, 43 points).
Martínez got off to a quick start against New England Wednesday, combining with teammate Miguel Almirón on a give-and-go play to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the second minute. He received a chance from the penalty spot in the 31st minute and slotted in the finish for the 2-0 Atlanta edge. The forward was given another shot from the spot in the 39th minute and powered the kick past New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
Atlanta added four more goals to finish the game with a 7-0 scoreline, tying a record for the largest margin of victory in MLS history.
In front of an MLS-record 70,425 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday, Martínez provided another dazzling performance, scoring in the 36th minute from close range to pull Atlanta even at 1-1. Orlando took the lead again before halftime, but in the 55th minute Chris McCann crossed a long ball into the box where Martínez finished with a powerful header to even the match at 2-2. After Orlando took the lead for the third time in the game, Martínez received a low cross in the box from Héctor Villalba and cracked home a volley to complete his hat-trick in the 69th minute. The hat-trick was the third of the season for Martínez, becoming one of five players in MLS history to accomplish the feat.
Atlanta welcomes LA Galaxy at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), before hosting the Montreal Impact Sunday, Sept. 24 (5 p.m. ET, FOX/FOX Deportes/TVAS).
The MLS player of the week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.