Josef Martinez

Josef Martinez
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Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez: ACL surgery went well

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Atlanta United star striker Josef Martinez says his ACL surgery was success.

Martinez posted a photo from his hospital bed following surgery to repair the ACL torn in the Five Stripes’ season opener versus Nashville SC.

He’s expected to miss six months, but the coronavirus suspension may not give him the chance to return to the club this season.

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According to the Associated Press, Martinez’s surgeon Freddie Fu is credited with saving Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s career following a 2017 ACL tear.

Martinez turns 27 in May. He’s had an explosive career in Atlanta, and had two goals and two assists in three 2020 matches spread between MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League.

He’s posted 90 goals and 12 assists in 103 matches for the Five Stripes following time with Torino, BSC Young Boys, Caracas FC, and FC Thun.

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In the midst of the humanitarian crisis we are all living through, in which more than ever we need to think about and take care of each other, just wanted to share that I'm blessed that my knee surgery today went well. I want to personally thank UPMC in Pittsburgh, doctors Freddie Fu and Volker Musahl (pictured), @atlutd , my teammates and most of all the city of Atlanta for the unconditional support. Also, everyone in Venezuela and around the world for the good wishes and support. God bless and protect us all in these challenging times 🙏❤️. En medio de todo lo que está padeciendo la humanidad, que nos tiene aferrados en cuidarnos, protegernos y orando por quienes más lo necesitan, quisiera hacer un paréntesis para anunciarles que gracias a Dios todo salió bien hoy en la operación de rodilla a la que fui sometido. Agradezco al Hospital UPMC de Pittsburgh; a los doctores Freddie Fu y Volker Musahl (foto); al @atlutd y a la ciudad por el apoyo constante; a mis seres queridos; y a todos ustedes mi gente querida de Venezuela y desde muchas partes del mundo por sus buenos deseos, muestras de cariño y darme fuerzas en la recuperación. Dios nos bendiga y proteja a todos por estos días que tanto lo necesitamos 🙏🏻❤

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Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez tears ACL in season opener

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Atlanta United will be without its goal king for the foreseeable future.

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The team revealed on Sunday that star striker Josef Martinez, 26, sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday’s match against Nashville SC. The Venezuelan is expected to undergo surgery and subsequently begin a lengthy rehabilitation process.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Martinez chased after Nashville defender David Romney, who had possession of the ball. As he closed in on Romney, the striker collapsed to the ground after minimal contact, holding his right knee.

Martinez continued to play for a few minutes before signaling to the bench that he needed to be subbed off. He was eventually strapped to the backboards and stretched off the field.

With his absence, Frank De Boer and company are left with Adam Jahn as the only striker on the club’s roster. Scoring responsibilities will heavily shift not only on Jahn, but on Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez as well.

“Everybody knows that Josef, when he’s in form, he’s the best in MLS,” de Boer said following Saturday’s match. “In training you see the quality. It’s going to be a big loss.”

In 84 appearances for the Five Stripes, Martinez has scored 77 goals, making a case that he’s one of the best strikers to play in the league. In 2018, when Atlanta United crowned themselves MLS Cup winners, he was named league MVP.

It’s unsure if Martinez’s injury will keep him out for the remainder of the season. What is sure, however, is that Atlanta United will need goals from whoever fills his role – despite having Jahn in the fold. That will not come easy.

In

“We have to search and not make a hasty decision,” de Boer added. “If he’s ruled out, there’s a good possibility that we are looking at the market for a replacement.”

Martinez’s loss is a gigantic blow to Venezuela’s Copa America chances, but, most notably, to Atlanta United, who will play on without their historic goal scorer.

CCL wrap: Atlanta United, Cruz Azul advance

CONCACAF Champions League
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The underdogs did not have their days on Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League.

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MLS side Atlanta United and Liga MX mainstays Cruz Azul cruised to second legs win at home to clinch places in the quarterfinals.

Cruz Azul 4-0 (6-1 agg.) Portmore United

Bringing a pair of away goals from Jamaica, the Liga MX hosts just needed to put this one on ice early.

Orbelin Pineda did that in the 22nd minute, and Cruz Azul struck thrice in the second half to win in a landslide.

Atlanta United 3-0 (4-1 agg.) Montagua

It was all about the Martinezes in Georgia, as Pity sandwiched a pair of goals around Josef’s 61st minute tally to send the Five Stripes into the next stage.

All the goals showed calm under pressure, but Pity’s first was gorgeous football. He also assisted Josef’s goal in Honduras during the first leg.

Remaining Round of 16 second legs

NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday

CONCACAF Champions League wrap: Atlanta draws, LAFC falls

CONCACAF Champions League
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The CONCACAF Champions League began the knockout rounds on Wednesday, with some eyebrow-raising games that nonetheless yielded very few surprises in results.

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Liga MX sides Leon and Cruz Azul won their matches, while Josef Martinez scored an equalizer for Atlanta United as perceived underdogs Montagua joined Portmore United in putting up solid home displays.

Leon 2-0 LAFC

Jean Meneses’ goal in the 21st minute put the Liga MX side in front of an impressive traveling crowd for a second-year team, and Bob Bradley‘s side was sloppy but limited further damage until a deflating 88th-minute goal from Angel Mina.

Portmore United 1-2 Cruz Azul

A strong display from Portmore United saw the Jamaicans take a 74th-minute lead through Rondee Smith, but La Maquina showed its mettle with goals in the fourth and ninth minutes of stoppage time to take a lead and two away goals.

Montagua 1-1 Atlanta United

The Honduran side took a 33rd-minute advantage, but the Martinez boys equalized within two minutes when Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez and Josef Martinez sliced through the heart of the Montagua defense.

Josef doesn’t miss many of these:

Three things we learned from Atlanta United-Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Level at one but holding the hosts at bay, Toronto FC looked content to drag the life out of the Eastern Conference Final. One of its attackers had other ideas, though, as Nick DeLeon dribbled into and then out of traffic to smash a shot past Brad Guzan from outside the box and earn the Reds their third MLS Cup Final berth in four years (all against Seattle Sounders).

The Five Stripes came out of the gates hot in both halves. Julian Gressel rolled a ball over the line in the fourth minute of the first half and Atlanta won a penalty with embellishment only to see Quentin Westberg deny Josef Martinez from the spot. Both Westberg and Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan were very decent in the first half, Nicolas Benezet’s equalizer a curling thing of beauty. A league with almost unrivaled home field advantage saw two celebrated home sides beaten by cagey former champions. MLS is a riot.

One more note: Here’s a nod to USMNT hero Michael Parkhurst, whose career ends one match short of another final.

“I have to say that today was resiliency,” said manager Greg Vanney. “It wasn’t beautiful soccer. These guys refused to give up, kept looking for their moment and got it. I don’t think there were too many statistical categories we won.”

[ MORE: Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal | GK hero reacts ]

Three things we learned

1. Bradley, TFC caught sleeping early: Toronto FC’s hopes of taking the Mercedes Benz Stadium crowd out of this one took a seismic shake when Michael Bradley somehow didn’t realize Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez was right behind him to blaze onto a terrific through ball from in-form Ezequiel Barco. Martinez held onto the ball as long as possible before sending a pass to Gressel for as easy a finish as you’ll see at this level. 1-0 in the fourth minute. Bradley then conceded a penalty to an embellishing but fouled Martinez, but French-American goalkeeper Quentin Westberg bailed him out with a fine save on Josef Martinez to keep the deficit at one. Buy him dinner, MB90.

2. TFC makes only attacking moments count: Nicolas Benezet quickly restored the deadlock with a terrific finish from the corner of the box. The ex-Guingamp midfielder ran onto a marvelous diagonal pass from center back Laurent Ciman. Benezet cut in freom the left and spun a curling effort toward the back post that ex-Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan could not rescue before it rippled the netting for 1-1 in the 14th minute. You could argue that there wasn’t another threat from the Canadian side until DeLeon’s winner, which was a smashing shot to cap a smash and grab.

3. Westberg, Mavinga keep Reds in the match: Yes, of course, the penalty kick save was an outstanding moment for the former Troyes and Auxerre goalkeeper, but he would be needed many times over the course of the match including two moments in the first few moments of the second half. Decisive off his line and composed on it, the 33-year-old continues to validate Greg Vanney’s decision to put him in the lineup over MLS Cup winner Nick Bono. As for Chris Mavinga, the physical Congolese defender was a force. A few days after a Man of the Match performance in New York, Mavinga rebounded from an in-game injury to make two decisive interventions in the final five minutes.

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Man of the match: Westberg.

Goalscorers: Gonzalo Martinez (4′), Nicolas Benezet (14′), Nick DeLeon (78′)