The Venezuela international's rapid rise through MLS has continued in 2018. His historic goal came in the 74th minute and proved to be the difference in Atlanta United's 2-1 victory:
Per ESPN Stats & Info, Martinez tied another record with his goal:
Martinez has failed to score in only seven of Atlanta's 26 games, and they sit top of the Eastern Conference and overall standings.
The 25-year-old bagged the opener in Sunday's 3-1 win over Columbus Crew—his 27th of the season—to draw level with former joint record holders Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Gerardo Martino's side have soared with Martinez leading their line. He netted 19 times in 20 regular-season outings last term and might have cracked the record in his debut campaign were it not for the 13 matches he missed with hamstring and foot injuries, per Transfermarkt.
Prior to joining Atlanta, Martinez's best tally of goals in a season was the 10 he managed during his sole year at Swiss side FC Thun. That earned him a move to Torino in Serie A, but he disappointed with only 13 goals in 76 games and moved to MLS in 2017.
Martinez has found his groove in the league, and regardless of whether he's worthy of making a step up, analyst Alexi Lalas made the case to revel in his exploits:
Alexi Lalas @AlexiLalas
Josef Martínez is obviously flourishing in a comfortable environment and @ATLUTD doesn't need the money from a sale (although they may want to sell for the message it sends to future players). Move will really depend on how motivated he is to leave. He's got a good thing going, https://t.co/jkKQPWKDDM
Even great MLS strikers like David Villa and Robbie Keane couldn't match Martinez's tally, recording personal bests of 23 and 20 goals for New York City FC and Los Angeles Galaxy, respectively. Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) and Landon Donovan (Galaxy) scored 22 and 20 goals in their best MLS campaigns.
Atlanta still have eight games remaining in the regular season, giving Martinez ample time to obliterate the former single-season scoring record.