Forward Josef Martinez set the MLS single-season goal record with his 28th of the campaign to help the Atlanta United post a 2-1 victory over host Orlando City on Friday night at Orlando City Stadium.
Martinez’s goal in the 74th minute was the decisive tally as Atlanta United (16-4-6, 54 points) stretched their unbeaten stretch to seven games (5-0-2).
Martinez’s record goal came after he received a pass from defender Julian Gressel and sidestepped Orlando City defender Jonathan Spector. He chipped the ball over Lions goalkeeper Joe Bendik to give Atlanta United the lead.
After scoring, Martinez removed his jersey, held it up and raised it in the direction of the fans, drawing a yellow card.
Roy Lassiter (1996), Chris Wondolowski (2012) and Bradley Wright-Phillips (2014) shared the old mark of 27 goals.
Martinez has scored 14 goals over the last nine matches, and nine over the last five. He figures to stretch the record well into the 30s with eight regular-season matches remaining.
Defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez also scored a goal for Atlanta United, who had a 19-6 edge in shots while increasing their Eastern Conference lead to five points over the New York Red Bulls.
Defender Scott Sutter scored for Orlando City (7-16-2, 23 points). Bendik made eight saves for the Lions, who are winless in their past six matches (0-5-1).
Atlanta United struck first with the goal by Gonzalez Pirez occurring in the 21st minute. Bendik mishandled a free kick and Gonzalez Pirez was nearby in the box to knock the ball in the net.
The Lions knotted the score in the 39th minute as defender Will Johnson tapped the ball over to Sutter near the back of the box. Sutter sent a hard right-footed liner to the right of Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Martinez took two shots in the first half, the best chance coming in the 41st minute when his right-footed tap went wide right of the open net. Overall, he took five shots in the match, putting two on goal.
Bendik made four saves and received help from forward Dominic Dwyer during a five-minute portion of the second half to keep the score tied during the opening third of the second half.
Martinez had an opportunity during that sequence — in the 57th minute — but Bendik easily made the save. Three minutes later, Bendik saved back-to-back hard shots, and a third attempt was booted away by Dwyer.
Bendik also stopped a blast by midfielder Hector Villalba during the segment.
—Field Level Media