ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Atlanta United FC veteran Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez has called on his teammates to keep fighting and not lose hope as they push for a Major League Soccer playoff spot despite an injury-riddled MLS season.
“We have to keep working. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of important points. But we’ve been suffering this since the first game; it’s not the first time,” Martinez said. “So we have to keep going, don’t lose hope. Last year we were in last place and ended up in the playoffs,” Martinez added. Martinez said they still have some games left and should give it their all to get a coveted playoff slot this year.
“We still have games to play, we’ve played less games, and we have to fight until the end. If we can, we can; if not, keep working. Maybe for the younger guys, they have more years, but we have to keep going, keep working,” he said. Last August 17, the visiting New York Red Bulls beat the home team, Atlanta United, 2-1 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 17.
The win also spoiled a historic night for Martinez, who scored his 100th MLS goal in his 150th match in all competitions for Atlanta United.
This MLS season, the Red Bulls have already beaten Atlanta United twice at home and on the road. On August 13, Atlanta United eked out a 2-2 draw on the road against the home team FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium. Veteran defender Andrew Gutman once again played hero for Atlanta United by scoring a late goal to avoid another defeat on the road.
The win is a huge morale boost for Atlanta United, who, despite an injury-plagued Major League Soccer season, remains in contention for a playoff slot. Argentine playmaker Thiago Almada provided the other goal for Atlanta United in the game.
Almada’s goal opened the scoring of the game in the first half. The goal was Almada’s fourth of the season. Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda is pleased with their draw as they successfully avoid another defeat on the road.