Atlanta United have announced that striker Josef Martinez will undergo surgery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Nashville SC. According to the MLS side, the Venezuelan international’s surgery date will soon be determined and will begin the rehabilitation process.
The forward suffered the injury in the 63rd minute after a collision with a Nashville defender and was eventually stretched off the field. Martinez was later seen leaving the stadium on crutches with an air cast on his right leg. The striker was later carried by a cart from the bowels of Nissan Stadium to the team bus.
Martinez joined the MLS club on loan from Torino before the start of its first MLS season in 2017. He later agreed to a permanent move when the club bought him and signed him to a five-year extension following his stellar performance in 2018.
The Venuzuelan has netted 90 goals in 103 appearances with Atlanta and has been the best goal-scorer in Major League Soccer for some years. Martinez won the league’s MVP and Golden Boot awards in 2018 when he helped the club to an MLS Cup victory.
The striker won the Golden Boot when he scored 31 goals to set the league’s all-time single-season scoring record. He also helped Atlanta United advanced to the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals and will play Club America on March 11 and March 18.
In a statement, the club wrote, “Martinez will undergo surgery on a date to be determined to begin the rehabilitation process.”
Speaking to the club’s official website about Martinez’s injury, Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer says he fears the worst about the injury and the striker could miss the rest of the season.
The Netherland coach added that he will need to talk to the club chiefs to add a forward to the team if Martinez is out for a prolonged stretch of time.
“Josef doesn’t look really, really well right now, but I cannot say anything about it. “We have to examine him tomorrow in the hospital and get a good opinion about it.
“It’s going to be a big loss. You don’t want to speculate, of course. You have to search for other solutions.”
Also reacting to Martinez’s injury, Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said: “Injury is part of team sports, isn’t it? Next guy up.
“Laurence came on, was fantastic. Adam came on, was fantastic. It is what it is. That’s not our job to worry about.”
According to winger Ezequiel Barco, he hopes Martinez’s injury is nothing serious, adding that if it does other players will have to step up and fill the void left by the Venezuelan.
“God-willing, it’s nothing serious and we’ll have him back for the next game,” Ezequiel Barco said of Saturday night through a translator.
“But if he does have to be out, then some of our other teammates are going to have to step-up.”