MLS Focus: Josef Martinez ties league scoring record with nine games to play

Roy Lassiter needed goals in each of his last six games for the Tampa Bay Mutiny to finish with 27 regular-season goals in 1996, MLS's inaugural season.

Lassiter held that record for his own until 2012 when Chris Wondolowski tied it by scoring his 27th goal on the final day of the season from the penalty spot.

Two years later, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice for the New York Red Bulls in the 34th and final game of the season to reach 27 goals.

Now along has come Josef Martinez, who tied the single-season goal record with his 27th goal of the season in  Atlanta United's 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew Sunday night in front of 45,309 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The only difference: Atlanta United still has nine regular-season games to play.

Martinez has been so dominant he has scored in eight consecutive matches -- one shy of tying MLS’s all-time record of held by Diego Valeri -- and he scored nine straight Atlanta United goals until Tito Villalba and Miguel Almiron each scored to help the Five Stripes move back on top of the Supporters’ Shield race.

Teammate Michael Parkhurst said Martinez's accomplishment makes him one of the best players ever to play in MLS.

“The track record speaks for itself," he said. "It’s incredible. It really is. The fact that that record has stood for as long as it has, and he’s crushing it in his first full season. Last season, he missed months; I don’t know how many games, but a lot. This season in his first full year, he’s crushing it. It’s unbelievable.”

For his part, Martinez said he isn't ready to celebrate yet and won't do so until he breaks the record. After the game, he was happier for Almiron, who has been in a slump since May and had not scored in six straight games.

“I’m happy for him because I think he’s been suffering lately. I don’t remember the last time he’s scored, but I know it’s been a while. I think he’s been feeling some of the pressure, so I was happy for him. I think it’s important for him to have the patience and perseverance to get that goal."

1 comment about "MLS Focus: Josef Martinez ties league scoring record with nine games to play".
  1. R2 Dad, August 21, 2018 at 3:45 p.m.

    JM is 5'-7". Good thing he's Venezualan because he'd never get a snif with the Nats if he was American. Small Hispanic is small. /S

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