Giorgio Chinaglia, during a special ceremony after the Red Bulls purchased the MetroStars in 2006, scored a North American first division record 34 regular-season goals for the Cosmos in 1978. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

By smashing the Major League Soccer season scoring record with eight games remaining, Josef Martinez has plenty of time to set league standards and for first division soccer leagues in North America.

If he scores two more goals, the Atlanta United striker can become the first MLS player to reach the 30-goal barrier.

He would become the sixth player to join that exclusive club since first division soccer came to North America in 1967.

Martinez has scored 28 goals in 26 appearances this season.

The all-time NA record for most goals in a season was 34, set by the late Giorgio Chinaglia for the Cosmos during the 1978 North American Soccer League campaign.

Chinaglia is the only NASL player to record at least 30 goals in multiple years, having tallied 32 in 1980. Counting the playoffs, Chinaglia struck for 50 goals in 1980 after securing 18 during the playoffs.

The 30-goal club in North American first division soccer

1. Giorgio Chinaglia, Cosmos (1978) — 34

2. Giorgio Chinaglia, Cosmos (1980) — 30

3. Mike Flanagan, New England Tea Men (1978) — 30

4. John Kowalik, Chicago Mustangs (1968) — 30

5. Cirilo Fernandez, San Diego Toros (1978) — 30

Atlanta’s remaining games (all times ET)

* Sunday, Sept. 2 — at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

* Saturday, Sept. 15 — at Colorado Rapids, 3:30 p.m.

* Wednesday, Sept. 19 — at San Jose Earthquakes, 11 p.m.

* Saturday, Sept. 22 — Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m.

* Sunday, Sept. 30 — at Red Bulls, 1 p.m.

* Saturday, Oct. 6 — New England Revolution, 3:30 p.m.

* Sunday, Oct. 21 — Chicago Fire, 3 p.m.

* Sunday, Oct. 28 — at Toronto FC, 4:30 p.m.