Atlanta United: Josef Martinez not training with team, per report

Josef Martinez issues at Atlanta United?

Atlanta United might have a brewing problem on their hands with star striker Josef Martinez.

News emerged from Atlanta United training on Thursday that star striker Josef Martinez is not training with the rest of the club. The Venezuelan international is training away from the first team, usually a sign of discontent or issues.

Whatever the issue may be, it is never a good sign when a coach resorts to this type of move, especially with a player the stature of Martinez.

Doug Roberson on Twitter: “Josef Martinez is training outside the team. Heinze won’t say why, other than he can’t use the press to send a message to team. #ATLUTD” / Twitter

Gabriel Heinze mum on Josef Martinez issue

Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze would not comment on the fact that Josef Martinez is not training with his first team. It is unclear if the decision to have Martinez train separate from his teammates has anything to do with the player being disgruntled.

To read the full details from Roberson, click here (it is well worth the time).

Josef Martinez: One of MLS’ biggest stars

Josef Martinez, who suffered an ACL tear last year in the season opener and missed the remainder of 2020 with Atlanta United, has not looked the same since the injury. In seven games played (four starts), he has two goals this year, part of an overall struggle for the once dominant club.

In 2018 Martinez scored 31 goals, setting what was then a league record (Carlos Vela would score 34 goals a season later for Los Angeles FC). Then in 2019, Martinez followed up his exploits with an impressive 27 goals, cementing his place as one of the league’s best strikers.

He is the all-time leading scorer in Atlanta United history with 79 goals.

All of this makes a difficult scenario for Heinze, who is in his first season as head coach of Atlanta United, having previously coached in his native Argentina. It has been a trying season for the club as they’ve struggled to close out matches under Heinze.

Atlanta United is currently 2-3-7 (13 points) and in tenth place in the Eastern Conference.