NEW YORK/ATLANTA – Major League Soccer announced Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez as the recipient of the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award. Martinez was presented the award during a ceremony at the Arthur M. Blank Family Office in Atlanta.
As author of the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, Martinez helped lead Atlanta United to the 2018 MLS Cup after his Golden Boot campaign produced 31 regular season goals to shatter the previous record of 27, which was held by MLS greats: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Chris Wondolowski and Roy Lassiter.
Martinez scored 27 goals in his first 25 games, an achievement unmatched by any player in MLS history, and one accomplished faster than any other player in the world this season. Establishing himself among the global goal-scoring elite, his goals-per-game average of .912 ranks above England’s Premier League Golden Boot winner Mo Salah (.889, Liverpool) and is in near reach of Spain’s La Liga Golden Boot winner Lionel Messi (.944, FC Barcelona) during their respective 2017-18 seasons.
Adding to his accolades, Martinez also established a new MLS career hat trick record after netting his sixth on July 21 against D.C. United.
Even into the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, Martinez has remained relentless, breaking yet another MLS record for combined goals with his 31 in the regular season and three so far in the postseason.
Martinez, 25, is the first player from Venezuela to win MLS’ MVP Award. He is also just the fifth player in the history of major professional sports in Atlanta to win his league’s MVP award. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was NFL MVP in the 2016 season, while the Braves’ Chipper Jones (1999), Terry Pendleton (1991) and Dale Murphy (1982, 1983) were honored as MVPs of the National League of MLB.
For his stunning accomplishments this season, Martinez earned nearly 48 percent of the votes in the MVP polling of players, management and the media. Finishing in second place was his Atlanta United teammate, midfielder Miguel Almirón, who received 15 percent of votes.
The Landon Donovan MLS MVP award has been presented since 1996 to the individual determined by a poll of players, management and the media to be the most valuable to his club.
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