Monday, 10 Dec 2018
Sport

Josef Martinez, record scorer, is the most valuable player in the MLS

Josef Martinez, a Venezuelan striker who cleared the MLS mark while assisting Atlanta United in the league game, was named the league's most valuable player on Wednesday.

He won a landslide victory, garnering nearly 48% of the votes of players, club representatives and journalists. His team mate Miguel Almiron was second at 15% and Los Angeles Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic was second at 11.6.

Wayne Rooney, who led D.C. United in the second half of last place in a playoff spot, was fourth at 7.8% and Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC was 5.3.

The next three were Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, Luciano Acosta (D.C.) and Ignacio Piatti of Montreal.

Martinez, 25, broke the previous mark of 27, two months away from the regular season, and finished with 31 matches in 34 games. Roy Lassiter (1996), Chris Wondolowski (2012) and Wright-Phillips (2014) had shared the recording.

Martinez managed three hat tricks and, between May 30 and August 24, scored 13 times out of 14, including nine times in a row. He contributed 44% of Atlanta's top 70 goals, scoring 70 goals, converting 55% of his shots on goal and adding six assists.

In the playoffs, Martinez scored three goals in four games as Atlanta qualified for the MLS Cup this Saturday against the Portland Timbers at the Mercedes-Benz sold-out stadium.

In two MLS seasons, Martinez scored 50 goals in 54 appearances in the regular season (51 starts).

He is the first Venezuelan to win this honor and the eighth South American. Last year, the recipient was Diego Valeri from Portland, an Argentine striker.

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