The silver anniversary of the MLS started auspiciously on Saturday night after Atlanta United’s superstar striker Josef Martinez tore the ACL in his right knee midway through the club’s 2-1 victory over new expansion club Nashville SC. The injury is said to be serious enough that the Venezuelan who won the league MVP in 2018 will be forced to go under the knife to repair any substantial damage.
While it is too soon to either understand the severity or estimate how long it will take for one of the league’s greatest goalscorers to lace up his boots once again, the precedent points to anywhere between 2-6 months on the mend. With this wide range in mind, it’s understandable that many in Atlanta are concerned for their club’s prospects this season.
Club manager Frank de Boer didn’t mince words after the match when he said outright; “Of course, you cannot replace Josef.” He added on that “Everybody knows that Josef, when he’s in form, he’s the best in MLS…It’s going to be a big loss.”
Not only is Martinez’s absence going to severely impact the black and red’s chances to find success within the stacked Eastern Conference, but it will also adversely affect the club’s aspirations in the CONCACAF Champions League. With Josef in their ranks, it appeared that the club could have a strong shot to be the first MLS team in history to win the prestigious continental championship, but without the Venezuelan, it could prove impossible to even make it past Mexican side Club America when they place later on this month.
We will continue to monitor Josef’s condition following his operation and will pass along any follow-up information when appropriate.
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Featured Photo Credit – Jacob Gonzalez for Atlanta United via AJC.com