It took all of 42 games for Josef Martinez to break the MLS all-time record for hat tricks.
The Venezuelan scored his sixth career hat trick and increased his league-leading goal
total to 22 in 22 games in Atlanta United's 3-1 win over D.C. United.
All three goals came after the Five Stripes fell behind on Zoltan Stieber's goal in the 8th minute. What pleased Atlanta coach Tata Martino most was that Martinez's three goals were
all well constructed.
“I think that when one has the possibility to have someone in the kind of form that Josef is in right now," the Argentine coach said, "all you can really do is
sit back and watch and try to enjoy it. These moments where players are at a very high level, whether it’s Josef or Miguel [Almiron], they’re our players and all we try to do is
give them confidence and enjoy those moments. In terms of Josef, if he was scoring all the goals individually it would be different and might be a cause for concern. I’m pleased with the way
he’s scoring the goals, that it’s coming as a function of the team and that leaves me calm.”
On the first goal before halftime, Martinez, Andrew Carleton, making
his first MLS start, Almiron and Tito Villalba were all involved in the buildup that ended with the latter drilling a cross into the box, where Martinez was able to redirect the ball into the
Martinez put Atlanta ahead in the 54th minute when he headed a cross from Carleton that took a slight deflection off of a D.C. United defender. In the 72nd minute, Martinez tapped
the ball in to finish his hat trick after a counterattack in which Almiron fed him.
Martinez was playing despite breaking his nose again two days earlier.
"As long as I keep
scoring goals," he said, "then that’s all that matters.”
Trivia. Only two other players had five career hat tricks:
Stern John in an equally amazing 55 games and Diego Serna in 124 games.