Atlanta United picked up their first win of the 2020 MLS season on Saturday, but suffered a major loss in the process.
The team announced Sunday that striker Josef Martinez suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, forcing him to leave Saturday’s game early. Martinez is set to undergo surgery on his knee and will begin rehabilitation immediately. There is no timetable for his return this MLS season.
Martinez has been one of the best acquisitions in MLS since his arrival in 2017 from Serie A side Torino. The 25-year-old striker has scored 82 goals and added 12 assists in 93 combined MLS appearances for the Five Stripes.
He won the 2018 MLS Golden Boot after scoring 31 regular season goals for the Five Stripes. The Venezuelan later added four goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs, leading Atlanta United to a first-ever MLS Cup.
Martinez followed that up with a 28-goal haul in MLS play last season, however the Five Stripes were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Final by Toronto FC.
He scored three goals in Concacaf Champions League play this season for the Five Stripes, helping them to a quarterfinal date with Club America later this month. The club will aim for a first-ever CCL title win by an MLS side.
With Martinez set to be sidelined, Frank de Boer will need to rely on playmakers Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco for goals this season. Barco scored in Saturday’s win, while Martinez scored a pair of goals in a 3-0 second leg victory over Motagua last week.
The Five Stripes return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 7th for their home league opener against FC Cincinnati.