Josef Martinez scored his 100th career goal on a 78th-minute penalty kick, leading the Atlanta United FC to a 1-0 win over visiting Inter Miami CF on Wednesday, moving the hosts above the playoff line in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
Martinez became the fastest player in MLS history to reach 100 goals, getting there in his 125th game. The old mark was held by Robbie Keane, who scored 100 goals in 156 games for the LA Galaxy.
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Martinez beat Inter Miami goalkeeper Nick Marsman after a handball in the penalty area by defenseman Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.
The goal also allowed Martinez to become the fifth player in MLS history to score his first 100 goals with one club. He has 14 goals this season.
Atlanta United (10-8-9, 39 points) earned their eighth win in the past 10 games.
Inter Miami (9-12-5, 25 points) saw their playoff push dented by taking a third consecutive defeat.
With the cushion provided by Martinez, who was replaced in the 89th minute, the Atlanta defense did the rest, keeping Inter Miami from creating a late threat.
Prior to Gonzalez Pirez’s match-altering penalty, both clubs flirted with scoring yet failed to take advantage of several opportunities.
Inter Miami’s first big threat came in the 14th minute when midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s bid to score was stopped by Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson. Defense continued to dominate the opening half before both Atlanta forwards Luiz Araujo and Martinez were unable to convert shots at close range during the 36th minute.
Robinson failed to get Miami on the scoreboard in the 42nd minute when his shot at goal sailed wide, resulting in the last scoring opportunity of the first half.
Atlanta United struggled to establish any kind of offensive groove until the final third of the match, when they began to pressure the Inter Miami defense, setting the stage for Martinez’s historic goal.