Atlanta, Georgia (August 19, 2018) — Josef Martinez is one goal away from MLS history.
The Venezuelan striker netted his 27th goal of 2018 on Sunday in Atlanta United‘s 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew. It tied him with Roy Lassiter (1996), Chris Wondolowshi (2012), and Bradley Wright-Phillips (2014) for the largest single-season haul in the history of the league.
The result vaulted Atlanta back into the lead in the Supporters’ Shield standings. One day prior, the New York Red Bulls moved into a tie with them after a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
For the Crew, it put an end to a three-game winning streak.
Josef Martinez Nets 27th Goal of 2018 in Atlanta United Win Over Columbus Crew
Martinez opened the scoring in the 31st minute. After Julian Gressel intercepted an errant pass from Crew defender Jonathan Mensah, he then slotted the ball towards Martinez who dribbled towards goal and hit it with his left foot past goalkeeper Zack Steffen. It was a phenomenally well-placed strike from outside the box.
There it is! @JosefMartinez17 ties the record for most goals scored in a single MLS season. #ATLvCLB https://t.co/BQmGbjuEcG
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 19, 2018
Columbus’ own goal-scoring phenom, Gyasi Zardes, had an answer early in the second half. It was similar in scope to Martinez’s in that it came from outside the box. It marked the Crew striker’s 15th of the season which puts him one away from a regular season career-high.
When life gives you @gyasinho, Gyasi gives you GOALS! #CrewSC | #ATLvCLB | 1-1 pic.twitter.com/83uEwJZvEv
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) August 19, 2018
Columbus appeared to have a chance to escape with a road win late in the second half. A cross into the box glanced off Jeff Larentowicz’s hand which could’ve warranted a penalty. But referee Jair Marrufo allowed play to continue. Larentowicz cleared the ball towards midfield, allowing Hector Villalba to come onto it. Credit must be given to him as he magnificently dribbled past a host of Crew defenders and put it past Steffen for the go-ahead goal.
Here’s another look at the play. #CrewSC pic.twitter.com/yR5HZhyZmz
— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) August 19, 2018
Too fast. Too quick. Tito. ? pic.twitter.com/O2aO9lthZq
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 19, 2018
The Five Stripes added one more in the 82nd minute courtesy of Miguel Almiron. It was a great example of unselfishness from Martinez who had a chance to make history but instead laid it off for the Paraguayan number 10. Almiron then blasted it past Steffen to make it 3-1 for his ninth goal of 2018 and first since June 30.
With the result, Atlanta is now unbeaten in six matches. For the visitors, it marks their fourth-straight defeat on the road. Both teams face a quick turnaround heading into their next match. Columbus faces the Chicago Fire this coming Thursday while Atlanta takes on Orlando City.