Just when it looked like Atlanta United and Josef Martinez would wilt in the hot, humid conditions of Orlando, Tata Martino’s men produced a moment of magic to find the winning goal. Of course, it was Josef Martinez on the end of it.
And with that goal, Josef Martinez travels home as the highest-scoring player in a single season in MLS history. And, more importantly, with three points.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez opened the scoring in the twenty-first minute, somehow managing the bungle the ball across the line after Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik spilled a free kick from Ezequiel Barco in front of goal. It was an apt reward for a player who just became a father only days ago.
Following the goal, things slowed down quite a bit, and Orland was able to capitalize through—of all people—right back Scott Sutter. The defender found himself on the end of a bouncing ball near the corner of the box and unleashed a vicious strike past Brad Guzan.
The goal gave Orlando a foothold in the game, and the home side defended mightily deep into the game. Utilizing a very low block Atlanta’s Venezuelan striker didn’t have much room to operate, until he did.