Josef Martinez is kicking his way into the MLS record books…
The 25-year-old Venezuelan soccer star has matched the Major League Soccer record for goals in a season with nine games remaining, as he scored his 27th of the year for Atlanta United on Sunday.
Martinez is on pace to blow past the league’s previous high, which was set by Roy Lassiter in the inaugural MLS season in 1996 and matched by Chris Wondolowski in 2012 and Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2014.
Martinez received a pass in the attacking third and made a run toward goal, turning a defender before curling a shot past Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen from just inside the box to put his team ahead in the 31st minute.
The goal was his 46th in 45 career regular-season MLS games, and it broke the record he shared with David Villa for goals in a player’s first two seasons in the league.
All but one of Martinez’s goals have come from inside the 18-yard box, with his strike on Sunday from 17.8 yards the second-farthest he has scored in MLS since he signed from Torino last year.
Martinez broke the record in the 69th minute but his header went off the crossbar. Atlanta went on to win 3-1 to claim the best point total in MLS.
Martinez has scored in eight straight games, matching the second-longest streak in league history and one shy of the record Diego Valeri set with the Portland Timbers last year.
He’ll get the chance to extend his streak — and break the season goals record — on Friday at Orlando City, which has lost 13 of its last 15 games and has been outscored 43-18 in that span.