ATLANTA - Atlanta United superstar Josef Martinez was named the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player on Wednesday.
Martinez scored 31 goals and notched six assists in 34 regular season matches this season. His 31 goals set a MLS single-season scoring record to win him the Golden Boot.
"Sometimes people say things and you don’t believe them,” Martinez said. “This is an award that we all wanted. Lot of work from myself, teammates, coaching staff and my family. Want to thank them for all of that.”
The 25-year-old forward finished with almost 48 percent of the vote while teammate Miguel Almiron finished second with a little over 15 percent of the vote.
Martinez is the first player from Venezuela to win the award. He also becomes the fifth professional athlete in Atlanta to win his league's MVP award:
- Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, 2016 NFL MVP
- Braves infielder Chipper Jones, 1999 MLB MVP
- Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton, 1991 MLB MVP
- Braves utility player Dale Murphy, 1982 and 1983 MLB MVP
Martinez and United will look to win the MLS Cup Saturday night against the Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
- PHOTOS: Atlanta United wins the 2018 MLS Eastern Conference
- Atlanta United's Nagbe says playing former team Portland for MLS Cup is surreal
- MLS Cup: Short history of Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers
Martinez joined Atlanta United with more than 100 professional appearances spread across the first divisions in Venezuela, Switzerland and Italy.
He has earned 42 caps for the Venezuelan Men's National Team and has scored nine goals since he made his national debut in 2011.
In his three seasons with Torino, Martinez scored 13 goals while adding six assists in 76 combined appearances.
Martinez joined teammates Hector “Tito” Villalba and Miguel Almiron as Atlanta United’s third Designated Player.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.