The man is a goal scoring machine. Atlanta United talisman Josef Martinez scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the season in their victory against Montreal. You could feel the goals were on their way as the chances mounted and the headers started flying.
The only change in the starting XI was the insertion of recent signing Eric Remedi who started at central defensive midfield. With Ezequiel Barco still suspended, the three-man midfield attack consisted of Tito Villalba, Miguel Almirón, and Julian Gressel.
The first half was all Atlanta as Almirón created chance after chance with his vision and pace. They’d eventually score first when Josef Martinez scored his 23rd goal of the season. Things looked good once the first half ended but an unsuspecting storm would delay the second half by an hour.
Seemingly unphased by the delay, Martinez came out in the second half and scored his 24th goal of the season when he toe-poked the ball past a defender to increase their lead to two goals.
Late in the second half, the five stripes looked to have let off the gas a bit and Montreal took advantage. With Franco Escobar locking down the wing in defense, the Impact had to shift to the middle of the pitch to create chances. Their adjustment would eventually produce a reward in the dying minutes of the match. Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti dribbled across goal and launched a left-footed rocket past three defenders and just inches past Brad Guzan.
Atlanta leaves Montreal with a precious three points as the playoff race begins to take shape. Their next match will be at home against another Canadian side in Toronto FC next Saturday, August 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. If you can’t wait until the fourth then you can catch a few of our best as they take part in the MLS All-Star game, Wednesday, August 1, as the best of the MLS take on Italian giants Juventus.
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD