Atlanta star Josef Martinez expected to miss at least 1 game

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez, center, hugs midfielder Eric Remedi (11) after scoring in the second half of an MLS soccer match against the FC Cincinnati, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Atlanta United star Josef Martinez expected to miss at least 1 game after injuring right knee and ankle

MARIETTA, Ga. — Atlanta United star Josef Martinez is expected to miss at least one game after injuring his right knee and ankle, a better-than-expected diagnosis that sets up the dynamic striker to be available for the MLS playoffs.

The team feared Martinez was seriously injured over the weekend in a 3-1 victory over San Jose. But coach Frank de Boer said after a training session Monday that nothing was broken and there was no ligament damage.

Still, Martinez is likely to miss Wednesday's game at New York City FC, a showdown at Yankee Stadium between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference. He is using crutches and still in a lot of pain, according to de Boer.

"Hopefully, he can return quicker than we expected," the coach said. "We are working day to day."

Martinez is one of the league's biggest stars, setting a record with 31 goals last season and winning MVP honors while leading United to the MLS Cup championship in just its second year.

The 26-year-old Venezuelan ranks third in the Golden Boot standings this season with 26 goals, trailing Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC with 29 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of LA Galaxy with 27. Over his MLS career, he has 76 goals in 82 games.

Martinez set another MLS record this season by scoring a goal in 15 straight games, a streak that ended Saturday when he was injured against the Earthquakes.

The striker went down in the 79th minute after colliding with a teammate and landing awkwardly on his right knee. He was able to walk off the field and returned to action before being subbed off. He was carried to the locker room on a stretcher.

Atlanta is second in the Eastern Conference, trailing NYCFC by four points with three games left in the regular season. De Boer said Brandon Vazquez or Héctor Villalba will take over the striker duties while Martinez is out.

United already has clinched a spot in the playoffs for the third year in a row and at least one home game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. If the team can pass NYCFC in the East, it would earn a first-round bye.

Otherwise, United would open the playoffs with a game on either Oct. 19 or 20.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

You may also like these

DeGeneres defends herself after posting photo...

Aug 17, 2016

Ellen DeGeneres says she's not racist after receiving backlash on social media for posting an...

'He's San Francisco': Tony Bennett honored for...

Aug 20, 2016

The city of San Francisco threw a 90th birthday bash for Tony Bennett, who first sang "I Left My...

Taking stock: NBC learning about changed viewer...

Aug 19, 2016

NBC says it hopes to take lessons from how some of its tech-savvy consumers are experiencing the...

Brady ready after 'silly accident' with scissors...

Aug 23, 2016

Tom Brady says he is doing well and ready after a "silly accident" in which he accidentally cut his...

McIlroy glad to be wrong about Olympic success

Aug 24, 2016

This is one time Rory McIlroy says he was happy to be mistaken

About Us

Sportify News offers you high quality sports journalism. Take a deep look in the world of sports as we bring you the latest news on acquisitions, sponsorships, lineups and more!

Subscribe Now!