Josef Martinez’s injury, which will keep him sidelined for a month, is a significant blow to Atlanta United. The league’s top goal scorer, with five goals through three games, had been tearing teams apart for fun but now, it will be interesting to see how Atlanta get by without their main attacking threat.
Trinidad & Tobago captain and striker Kenwyne Jones signed for Atlanta over the summer and is one of the many names being suggested to replace Martinez. The former-Sunderland man has played just 13 minutes in MLS this season but is a reliable second choice striker to call upon when needed. The injury has paved a way for Jones to prove his worth for Atlanta and keep the team on track as they embark on a four-game road trip.
A New Approach
Jones’ style of play is different to Martinez as he will use his height and strength to hold defenders off and feed his fellow attackers as they make runs in behind, something Martinez seemed to have perfected in the opening stages of the season. Jones also offers another big target on set pieces as he stands at 6’2 and has been known for his aerial presence throughout his career.
Atlanta won’t have to change their game plan drastically as Yamil Asad and Tito Villalba have impressed on the wings and should continue to thrive but they may have to tweak how they attack defenses down the middle. Jones won’t be as quick as Martinez and may not pick up where the Venezuelan left off in MLS. With that being said, he’s certainly capable of putting the ball in the net and helping Atlanta secure results.
While Jones is unlikely to play on Friday against the Seattle Sounders due to his two games on international duty, he will certainly get his chance during the month that Martinez is sidelined. The injury to the Venezuelan forward is a blow to Atlanta but there are replacements ready to fill in and this could be the big opportunity for Kenwyne Jones to make an impact in Major League Soccer.
This is the time for Jones to help show the rest of the league just how deep the Atlanta United squad is and what better way to do that than by securing good results on the road.