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The breakdown: Josef Martinez’s unprecedented young career in MLS

By strictly looking at his impressive on-field results, you would think Josef Martinez has been in the league for quite a while. But once you hear he accomplished it all within two seasons, that’s when the jaws drop to the floor. The Venezuelan forward is thriving at Atlanta United and that’s why it’s no surprise to see his decision to remain at the club. In honor of his recent contract extension, let’s take a look at his historic numbers from his first two years in Major League Soccer:

0.93 Goals Per Game (All-Time MLS Record)

Since he started his career in 2017 with Atlanta United, the matches have barely been able to keep up with Josef’s performance in front of net – 50 goals in 54 games. That puts him at 0.93 goals per game, the highest of any previous MLS player by a long shot, with his second closest competitor coming in at 0.80 (John Stern).

6 Hat Tricks (All-Time MLS Record)

Not only has he been able to bag goals consistently week after week, but he’s also infamous for scoring multiple in a single match. In just two seasons he’s been able to break the MLS career hat trick record with six. It’s also important to note his three in both 2017 and 2018 are tied for the most in a single season.

31 Goals in 2018 (All-Time MLS Record)

After coming up just short in 2017, Martinez managed to earn the league’s Golden Boot award in 2018 in striking style – setting the all-time MLS record for the most goals in a regular season. Those 31 goals during last year’s regular season ranked 4th among pros around the world just behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (34), Benfica’s Jonas (34) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (32).

10 Game-Winners in 2018 (1st in MLS)

Atlanta United’s 2018 season was one for the record books, surpassing the previously set all-time regular season points record and Martinez’s 31 goals were clearly a crucial part in that success. But even more telling is 10 of those strikes went down as game-winners, the most in the league all year.

3 MVP Awards in 2018

In addition to his Golden Boot award, Martinez swept the floor when it came to the highest individual recognition moments of the year. His goal in the MLS All-Star Game against Italian giants Juventus earned him the honor if match MVP, his record-breaking 31 goals over the course of the regular season earned him the season MVP, and after scoring the game-winning goal in MLS Cup, he rounded off the year being named the MVP in the final.

MLS Best XI in 2017 & 2018 (1 of 2 players in MLS)

Only two players managed to work their way into the MLS Best XI list in both 2017 & 2018. One was Josef Martinez himself as well as his fellow Atlanta United teammate Miguel Almirón. The dynamic duo have been nearly unstoppable since joining MLS together, so it’s only fitting they would find themselves together on the list of the league’s greatest stars.

Despite being injured for much of the 2017 season, Martinez’s first year was staggering. He then showed the world what he could do with a full season under his belt in 2018. Now the 2019 season is on the horizon and there’s no telling the heights Martinez could reach in his 3rd year. So keep an eye out, because the goal king is in Atlanta to stay.

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