Atlanta United have been delivered a huge blow as star striker Josef Martinez has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a thigh injury that happened while on international duty.
The Venezuelan picked up the thigh injury while attempting a shot during a World Cup Qualifier against Peru. The 23-year old left the national team after the game and flew back to Atlanta for an MRI, which revealed the seriousness of the injury.
The start to Martinez's MLS career has been nothing short of superb, scoring five times in three games and leading the race for the Golden Boot. Including preseason games, Martinez has nine goals in seven games for his new side. With Atlanta's star sidelined for a while, the question remains as to who will replace him. Kenwyne Jones is likely to get the nod as the primary striker and should do well enough to fill a void but the absence of Martinez will be obvious.
Martinez has been crucial in Atlanta's bright start to life in Major League Soccer and his movement up front seems to make everything click as he links up with the likes of Tito Villalba and Miguel Almiron. Kenwyne Jones as the main striker offers something different for Atlanta but with a tough run of games ahead for the expansion side, he'll have to be firing on all cylinders as Atlanta's plan B.
Atlanta will have to make do without their star striker, who recently joined the club permanently, as they embark on a tough road trip but the overall performances from Atlanta in recent weeks can give fans plenty of confidence.
There are other options for Atlanta to replace Martinez in his stint on the sidelines, but only time will tell.