MLS Focus: Josef Martinez smashes record with sixth hat trick in only 42 games

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 goal.

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.
2 comments about "MLS Focus: Josef Martinez smashes record with sixth hat trick in only 42 games".
  1. R2 Dad, July 22, 2018 at 2:49 p.m.

    Apparently MLS can only recruit 5'-7" attackers from abroad. No need to scout the hundreds of skilled short attackers already here in the US--that's what Alianza is for.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, July 22, 2018 at 6:10 p.m.

    R2, our clubs and eventually academies, have produced ineffectual strikers. The instinct, imagination, skill, hunger and permission has been snuffed out. While all these clubs and coaches are making a decent living winning games, we can’t develop finishers. We should have these in the legions as it’s the most exciting part of the game. We got bupkiss. Former striker in the 60’s and 70’s.

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