Atlanta United star Josef Martinez might be lost for
the 2020 MLS season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Nashville SC in their season opener.
Martinez hurt his knee in a collision with Nashville SC defender Dave Romney. He tried to continue but collapsed to the ground minutes later and had to be stretchered off.
The Venezuelan will undergo surgery on a date to be determined and then begin the rehabilitation process. No time frame for his return was mentioned.
Two other MLS players recently suffered ACL tears. D.C. United star Paul Arriola's layoff was put at up to nine months. LA Galaxy defender Danilo Acosta will be out of action for 7-9 months, according to his club.
Martinez has scored 77 goals in 84 league appearances. He scored a new record 31 goals and was named league MVP in 2018 when Atlanta United won the MLS Cup. It won the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup in 2019.
Losing Martinez is a devastating blow for Atlanta United, which must play Mexico's Club America in the Concacaf Champions League. Martinez scored the winning goal when Atlanta United beat Club America, 3-2, to win the 2019 Campeones Cup.
Atlanta United's only other forward is Adam Jahn, picked up from the USL's Phoenix Rising in the offseason.
Head coach Frank de Boer said after the Nashville game he would ask Atlanta United management to sign a replacement for Martinez. Atlanta United has one Designated Player spot open.
Atlanta United opens at home on Saturday against FC Cincinnati. It faces Club America in the CCL quarterfinals on March 11 and 18.