Josef Martinez scored nine goals for Altanta United in September. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
NEW YORK – Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez was voted the Major League Soccer player of the month for September by members of the media.
The Venezuela international scored nine goals in September, leading Atlanta to a 5-0-2 record in the month while scoring a goal in all but two matches. Martínez is fourth in the Golden Boot race with 18 goals in as many games. Atlanta sits third in the Eastern Conference (15-9-8 overall, 53 points) and trail New York City FC by three points for the second spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Martínez began the month with a 46th minute goal in Atlanta’s 3-0 home win against FC Dallas. Martinez was back in the hunt for goals midweek Sept. 13 in a 7-0 victory over the New England Revolution. In the second minute, the forward blasted a shot near-post and in to the back of the net to make it 1-0. Martínez received a chance from the penalty spot in the 31st minute and calmly slotted it in to make it 2-0 for Atlanta. Given another shot from the spot in the 39th minute, Martínez powered the kick past New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper to make it 3-0 to complete his second hat trick of the season.
The 24-year-old scored another hat-trick on Sept. 16, but this time, in front of a record-breaking 70,425-person crowd in a 3-3 tie against Orlando City SC at home. Down 1-0 early on, Martínez began his 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 in to the box where Martinez 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.
Martínez struck once again when he opened the scoring in the 13th minute when hosting the LA Galaxy on Sept. 20. The match ended with a 4-0 win for Atlanta United. The 24-year-old capped off his month by making his way on to the score sheet in the 33rd minute against the Philadelphia Union to give Atlanta United a 3-0 win and a spot in the playoffs.
Atlanta United next take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, Oct. 15 (5 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).
The MLS player of the month is voted upon by a panel of select national media members in a process conducted by MLS Communications.