While we are all happy for Martinez, who has fought his way back from a devastating injury to reach the top level with his national team, our congratulations might be through gritted teeth. It means he will miss at least three Atlanta United matches against NYCFC, Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls when the team returns to play next Sunday. Venezuela’s last group stage game is June 27, the same day Atlanta plays Red Bulls. If Venezuela advances to the knockout rounds of the Copa—and they only need to finish above Peru in their group to do so—Martinez will miss at least one more match against the Chicago Fire on July 3. Atlanta then plays Nashville SC on July 8.
It’s terrible timing for Josef to miss such a congested portion of the schedule, and Gabriel Heinze will certainly have his work cut out trying to figure out how to deploy a side with any bite in the attack without Martinez, Lisandro Lopez (who left the team by mutual consent after a family tragedy), and Emerson Hyndman, who tore his ACL in training this week. On the plus side, there are free donuts in the lobby.