After Venezuela fell to Argentina in Friday’s Copa America quarterfinal, attention shifted to Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez and his potential return to the lineup. The consensus was that he’d at least be back for the club’s contest against the New York Red Bulls on July 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, if not its trip to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening.
As it turns out, the latter will be the case, according to Frank de Boer following Atlanta’s 2-1 win against the Montreal Impact. Per de Boer, Martinez will train with Atlanta early next week and travel to Bridgeview with the remainder with the team.
The big question is if Martinez will start against the struggling Fire or come off the bench to spell backup striker Brandon Vazquez. There’s an outside chance that he may not start at all in favor of having him fully rested for next Sunday, but early signs point to him getting some time on Wednesday.
That leaves Tito Villalba and Ezequiel Barco as members of Atlanta’s forward corps still on the shelf for now. Slowly but surely, though, the key pieces of the club are returning.