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Atlanta United Report Cards: Pity Martinez

The former River Plate star came to Atlanta United with big credentials and bigger expectations. How did he do in 2019, and what should we expect in 2020?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pity Martinez’s season in three words: Confusing, inconsistent, and simply just weird.

Pity Martinez came to Atlanta United for an eight-figure fee, fresh off winning the Copa Libertadores in 2018 with River Plate. Although he had a couple bursts of good performances, Pity had a very underwhelming season that he will want to put behind him.

Position: CAM, LW, RW

Games Played: 43 played, 37 starts (all competitions)

Goals: 7

Assists: 11

What went right this season?

As I said, Pity had a couple bursts of good performances for Atlanta this season, and most of them were in big games. In the moments that mattered most, he always rose to the occasion. The Campeones Cup against Club America was one of the best games I saw Pity play in an Atlanta shirt. In the U.S. Open Cup final, he scored what proved to be the winning goal and allow Atlanta to lift the historic trophy for the first time. Lastly, in the playoffs, he played two games and had two assists — thoroughly convincing performances — when it was looking like he wouldn’t play a big role after sitting on the bench in the opening round. Pity loves big games. It is what he's known for, and it was essential for Atlanta United this season.

What does he need to improve on?

Oh boy.

On and off the field, Pity never really found his groove in Atlanta this year. On the field, he just couldn’t produce the same goal production he put up with River Plate. He lost the ball in the midfield too often and showed lacking hustle at the same time. He looked uncomfortable most of the season, and not to mention his relationship with De Boer broken. Now I know some people say, “Barco didn’t have a good first season either,” but Barco wasn't a 26 year old Copa Libertadores winner and South American Player of the Year — Barco was a teenager with only 23 professional career starts. Lack of goal production, the inconsistent performances, and the attitude on and off the field is everything that went wrong for Pity.

Pity needs to work on holding the ball better. Losing the ball in the middle of the field more than once a game, thereby leaving the midfield and defense exposed, caused trouble for Atlanta United this season. If you lose the ball, you should always be the first one to put pressure on getting it back. Finishing is also something he needs to improve. There were many times Pity found himself with a golden opportunity to score but shot wide. Lastly, changing his attitude will be essential if he returns. Pity needs to learn that while he may be one of Atlanta United’s star players, the team does not revolve around him. Having a better attitude on and off the field can prove to be useful and actually help him get better.

What role will he play in 2020?

FDB’s relationship with Pity is very much strained, making it a real possibility for him to leave Atlanta just after one season. Many teams in South America would love the idea of a player like Pity making a return to the Copa Libertadores, though his overall performances and lack of production might prevent that from happening as Atlanta won’t want to lose money from his transfer.

Now, one season cannot define a player. De Boer asked for patience and later proved his worth to the fans, and that should go for Pity as well. If Pity stays, he has a lot of work to do. He has to gain de Boer’s confidence and trust back, and then put in consistent performances for Atlanta next season, no matter the opponent. In saying that, coming to a new country, new league, and a new team is difficult and takes time to adapt so we can’t be overly harsh on his first season. If he does stay, the expectations for him to produce will be even higher than this last season. Can he do it?

Overall Grade: C-

Considering his performances in the Campeones Cup, US Cup Final, and the MLS Playoffs, we can be nice. Those performances saved him from having a disaster of a first year.