The 2018 MLS MVP, Josef Martinez, appears to not have traveled with the team today to Orlando for the team’s U.S. Open Cup semi-final match tomorrow.
It started with Josef posting a (now deleted) picture of his infamous “cigar” celebration with the “X” mark on it, and then there was a picture on snapchat from Josef appearing to be poolside at his home at the same time the team was departing for the trip to Orlando.
Insider info coming in from someone on the flight:— Kelly Frances (@thekellyfrances) August 5, 2019
Josef does not appear to be on board... https://t.co/EnX9tXWx80
Later in the afternoon on Instagram, Josef reposted a video on his story of his dog Hachiko (who is a confirmed good boy) at the dog groomer. Although Josef wasn’t present in the videos it could be another sign he is still in town.
It’s worth remembering that Martinez has been ever-present in Atlanta United’s side this season, playing 1872 out of a possible 1890 minutes in MLS play. He’s played the full 90 minutes in his last 13 MLS matches, and has only been substituted twice in league play. The match against Orlando is a quick turnaround for Atlanta United with only two days between the semi-final and the team’s win on Saturday against the LA Galaxy.
Josef Martinez was present and participating in the portion of the team’s training session that was open to reporters Monday.
If Josef is in fact not with the team, they will be short handed at striker with Brandon Vazquez already out, per Frank de Boer at Monday’s press conference. Tito Villalba would be the easiest one to plug in his place, but he hasn’t played in a live game in months and likely isn’t fit for 20 minutes, let alone 60+ minutes.