Josef Martinez FINALLY returns for Inter Miami as he sets a scoring record with 100th MLS goal to lead Phil Neville’s men past his old team and to their second win in a row
- Prior to Saturday night’s game, Martinez had not scored an MLS goal for MIA
- Martinez scored 98 MLS goals for his former MLS organization, Atlanta United
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Josef Martinez scored twice in his first match against his former team to reach the MLS 100-goal benchmark and lift Inter Miami to a 2-1 win against Atlanta United on Saturday night.
Martinez’s first two goals since leaving Atlanta and joining Miami propelled the Herons to a second consecutive win after six straight losses.
His first came from the penalty spot in the 59th minute, just moments after coming on as a substitute. His second was a much harder sliding, one-touch finish past Atlanta goaltender Quentin Westberg after reaching a pass from DeAndre Yedlin.
Miami (4-6-0, 12 points) had to hold out from there after Franco Negri was shown a red card for a tough challenge in the 84th minute after a video review.
Andre Gutman pulled a late goal back for Atlanta (5-3-3, 18 points) with a header from Brooks Lennon’s corner kick in second half stoppage time.
Josef Martinez reached the triple-digit club, while scoring his first goals for MIA
That helped the visitors avoid their first offensive shutout of the season, but they couldn’t avoid a third away loss and second in a row.
Martinez spent six years playing for Atlanta, starting in the MLS team’s expansion season in 2017, scoring his first 98 MLS goals there and helping the club win the 2018 MLS Cup and the 2019 US Open Cup.
But he tore his ACL in the 2020 season opener, missed the rest of that season, and hasn’t regained his former form since, despite scoring 21 goals for Atlanta in 2021 and 2022.
Martinez made his name for Saturday night’s opponent Atlanta United and scored 98 goals there
Atlanta exercised a contract buyout option this off-season, allowing Miami to sign him as a free agent, but he had lost his starting role as Leonardo Campana recovered from an early season injury.
Still, manager Phil Neville opted to use Martinez in the 57th minute. And he had a chance to get off target with his first kick of the match after Atlanta’s Machop Chol knocked down David Ruiz.
Martinez stepped up and hammered his penalty past Westberg’s dive.
His second came as Yedlin netted a high arc cleanly, turned to see Martinez run into the box. Yedlin slid into the diagonal pass and Martinez instinctively slid to jab from a tight angle between the attacking Westberg and the far left post.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Cristian Espinoza, the league’s most recent player of the month, scored two goals to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles FC – their first loss of the season.
Wayne Rooney’s DC United were beaten 2-1 after Luciano Acosta propelled the Eastern Conference high-flyers to three more points with a goal and an assist.
An own goal from Orlando City’s Robin Jansson helped CF Montreal to a 2–0 victory. Bobby Wood scored a goal in the first half before DeJuan Jones found the net in the second half as New England dispatched Toronto FC 2-0.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza celebrated with teammates during the victory
Dániel Gazdag scored a first-half penalty as the Philadelphia Union defeated the New York Red Bulls 1–0. It was a really bad night for New York, with NYCFC losing 3-2 after Enzo Copetti scored twice in the first half and Charlotte FC using a Richard Ledezma own goal in the second half to win.
Hany Mukhtar recorded his third career hat-trick, culminating in penalties either side of halftime as Nashville secured a dominant 3-0 victory vs. Chicago.
There was a scoreless tie between the Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, while FC Dallas and St. Louis game was postponed due to lightning strikes. Bad weather sent the two teams off the field in the 50th minute. The game will resume where it left off on a date to be determined.