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
By becoming the first Major League Soccer player to score 30 goals in a season with with five games remaining, Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez has plenty of time to set league standards and for modern-era first division soccer leagues in North America.
Martinez reached the magic 30-goal plateau by connecting twice, including the game-winner in a 4-3 comeback victory over the San Jose Earthquakes Wednesday night.
He became the sixth player to join that exclusive club since first division soccer came to North America in 1967.
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
6. Josef Martinez, Atlanta United (2018) — 30
Atlanta’s remaining games (all times ET)
* 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.