From Atlanta United:
Ronald Hernández and Josef Martínez have received national team call-ups to the Venezuela National Team by manager José Pékerman ahead of two CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, joining Miles Robinson, George Bello and Brooks Lennon who are currently with the United States Men’s National Team on international duty.
Venezuela has two World Cup Qualifying matches scheduled during the upcoming FIFA window: at home against Bolivia on Jan. 28 and at Uruguay on Feb. 1. The Vinotinto currently sits in 10th place in the standings with four matches remaining in this World Cup Qualifying cycle.
Hernández has made 27 appearances for Venezuela and recorded one goal and one assist. He made 10 appearances for Venezuela in 2021, including four games with one start at the 2021 Copa América where he scored his first international goal against Ecuador on June 20, 2021, and six appearances in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.
Martínez has made 58 career appearances for Venezuela and scored 12 goals with three assists. The forward has made four appearances in the current World Cup Qualifying cycle and has scored five goals in 25 World Cup Qualifying matches in his career. His last match was on Sept. 10 in a 2-1 loss to Paraguay. Martínez is coming off a 2021 MLS campaign that saw him lead Atlanta in scoring with 12 goals in just 24 regular season matches.
This news could be taken either positively or negatively depending on what side of the bed you rolled out of. The positive is obvious — it’s always good to be picked to play for your country and these players will get ramped up quickly with high-level competition ahead of the season. Taken with a little more trepidation, participating in such a camp after an offseason obviously exposes these players to injury. There could also be disappointment that these players will miss training time with the team, but given that they are familiar with Gonzalo Pineda’s tactics, it’s probably not as big of a concern as it might have been in a year like 2021 under a new manager.
Congratulations to Josef and Ronald. Here’s hoping they represent their country well and come back strong and fit to Atlanta United’s preseason.