MLS fans had a pretty clear idea of how explosive Josef Martinez was after committing a hat trick in his second game with Atlanta United last March.
But few could have expected exactly how many games of three more goals would accumulate in the next 15 months.
In Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, Martinez treated the home crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with his fifth career hat trick, matching an MLS record held by Stern John and Diego Serna.
A hat trick.
A gold skewer.
– Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) June 3, 2018
Even more impressive, the 25-year-old forward accomplished the feat much faster than John (55 games) or Serna (124 games), doing it amazingly. low total of 34 games.
"I'm happy for the goals and I'm happy to help the team," said Martinez. reporters after the game through a translator. "It's time to enjoy the moment and start thinking about our next game."
Against the Union, Martinez received an early penalty kick when Union Auston Trusty defender shot him down in the box. While waiting for the penalty kick, referee Sorin Stoica gave red cards to Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin for dissent, which only increased the drama – and nerves of the striker .
But Martinez beat Union goalie Andre Blake gave Atlanta an early 1-0 lead, and sealed the victory with his second penalty kick of the game in the 83rd minute.
"I know the goalie and I thought I was going to wait until the last second when I kicked, "Martinez said. "And Miguel told me he had just shot a rocket."
Between the two PKs, he found space in the box and finished a hard cross by Miguel Almirón.
"It's a testament to his ability to score goals," said Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst. "He's relentless in front of the goal, of course, two of them were penal today, but it's difficult to take two penalties in a game, and he's just great and safe there."
Martinez, the leader of the Golden Boot, now has 12 goals in 14 games the season after a 19-goal campaign last year.
Parkhurst added: "He loves to score goals, he's very good at that, and we hope he gets his sixth [hat trick] very soon."  All-Time Hat Hat Leaderboard
|Stern John||55||5  Diego Serna||124||5|
|Chris Wondolowski||305  ] 4|
|Brad Wright-Phillips law||150||4|