Atlanta United Issues 1-Game Suspension To Striker Josef Martinez After Altercation With Head Coach
Atlanta United announced that it has issued a 1-game suspension to striker Josef Martinez. Martinez will reportedly not be eligible to participate in this weekend’s game against Toronto FC, or any team activities during his suspension period. Martinez’s expected return to training is scheduled for September 12th.
Felipe Cardenas of The Athletic reports that Martinez’s suspension comes as the result of an altercation that took place between he and Atlanta United Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda. The altercation reportedly happened on Sunday, after the team suffered a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers. Martinez allegedly went into the locker room following the loss, and kicked over a catering table “in frustration”, according to Cardenas. Pineda reportedly had confronted Martinez about his conduct after he came from a separate room, and the two ultimately needed to be physically separated.
This is not the first time that Martinez has had an altercation with a head coach. 90Min reports that Martinez also had difficult relationships with Gabriel Heinze and Frank de Boer. Heinze is the current manager of Atlanta United and Boer is currently the Soccer manager of Dutch.
Martinez is regarded as the team’s best scorer. In February 2017, Martinez signed on as a “Designated Player” on loan from Torino. Martinez reportedly secured a permanent transfer on March 21, 2017, then went on to score 19 goals in 20 games during his first year with Atlanta United. Martinez followed the 2017 year up with a record-breaking campaign in 2018, becoming the first MLS player to win All-Star, regular season and MLS Cup MVP honors all in the same season.
However, Martinez has reportedly been forced to settle for a place on the bench in the last four games for Atlanta United, with Pineda allegedly favoring Mexican forward Ronaldo Cisneros. Martinez scored Atlanta United’s only goal in their 2-1 loss against Toronto FC.
90Min has more HERE.