In a 2022 MLS season with more downs than ups, Josef Martinez gave Atlanta United fans at least one lasting memory.
An audacious bicycle kick by Martinez in the penultimate match of the season at the New England Revolution was the 2022 MLS Goal of the Year, the league announced on Thursday. It happened in the 81st minute on Oct. 1, with Martinez having entered at the 54th minute. This is the 2nd time Martinez has won the honor, the 1st being his incredible solo effort at FC Cincinnati in 2019. And it’s the 3rd time an Atlanta player has won, as Tito Villalba did it in the club’s inaugural season.
The goal was eventually voted on as the league’s Goal of the Week by an overwhelming margin (74 percent). Unfortunately, Atlanta lost 2-1 to the Revs, as they saw their MLS Cup Playoff hopes extinguished in Foxborough.
For the 2022 season, Martinez scored 9 goals and added 4 assists in 26 matches, starting 12. The once-lethal striker is on the other side of an ACL injury and an arthroscopic procedure as he has struggled to regain the form that made him a headline attraction across the league. That’s not to mention the tension between him and the front office that has led to speculation that he may not be around much longer.
Still, the Venezuelan is a club legend, and his impact in Atlanta has been undeniable. And his highlight-reel goal in early October certainly ranks as his most skillful yet.