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Josef Martínez, Ronald Hernandez called to Venezuela National Team for September World Cup Qualifiers

International duty is likely to throw a small wrench into Gonzalo Pineda’s early days as Atlanta United head coach.

Venezuela v Uruguay - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Matias Delacroix-Pool/Getty Images

International call-ups for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers have begun, and Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez and defender Ronald Hernandez are the first to add an itinerary for the break. Unfortunately, with Atlanta United and Orlando City scheduled to play on a Friday night coming out of the international games Thursday, it’s doubtful these players can play a part in a pivotal conference clash.

Atlanta United announced Wednesday:

Josef Martínez and Ronald Hernandez have been called up to the Venezuela National Team by interim manager Leonardo González Antequera for three World Cup Qualifying matches in CONMEBOL against Argentina on Sept. 2, at Peru on Sept. 5 and at Paraguay on Sept. 9. Both players will depart following Atlanta’s match against Nashville SC on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, Univision).

Martínez has made 53 appearances for Venezuela and tallied 11 goals and three assists. He made his Venezuela senior team debut Aug. 7, 2011 in a friendly against El Salvador and has since represented La Vinotinto in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification matches for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and in Copa America 2015, 2016, 2019. Martínez played in Venezuela’s two most recent World Cup Qualifiers in June and was called up for the 2021 Copa America, however he did not feature after testing positive for COVID in national team camp. He has scored five goals in 23 World Cup Qualifying matches.

Hernández has made 21 appearances for Venezuela and recorded one goal and one assist. He made his debut with the senior team as a starter in a World Cup Qualifying match against Paraguay on Oct. 11, 2017. Hernández played in every match for Venezuela during the 2019 and 2021 Copa América tournaments. This summer he made four appearances with one start at the 2021 Copa América, where he scored his first international goal against Ecuador on June 20, 2021. Hernández also made 17 appearances for Venezuela’s U-20 squad and played every minute of the 2017 U-20 World Cup in South Korea where Venezuela reached the final.