Posted in MLS

MLS Daily: Kenwyne Jones should step in for injured Josef Martinez at Atlanta United.

The former Sunderland and Stoke City striker has been waiting for his golden opportunity. 

Jones.jpg
Kenwyne Jones signed for Atlanta last year ahead of the clubs debut season in MLS. (Image Credit: JASON GETZ/ USA TODAY SPORTS via. http://www.dirtysouthsoccer.com/2017/3/10/14879424/kenwyne-jones-lineup-atlanta-united-minnesota.

Atlanta United were dealt a blow in midweek, after Josef Martinez went off injured while on International duty with Venezuela.

The in-form forward is top of the goalscoring charts in the MlS this season with five goals in just three games.

Martinez came off after falling when taking a shot, and Venezuela’s Head Coach Rafael Dudamel has suggested a minimum of 10 days rest for the player to recover. He will have a MRI scan tomorrow to determine the severity of this injury.

If 10 days proves to be an accurate assessment, that will mean the 23-year old will be more than likely to miss Atlanta’s match against Seattle Sounders next week.

However, Head Coach Tito Martina has got other weapons within his arsenal, one of which is the vastly experienced Kenwyne Jones.

The Trinidad and Tobago captain has a wealth of Premier League experience after spending a decade in and around England’s top flight with Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland and Cardiff City respectively.

Jones may not be the most prolific of strikers, but he does cause defenders enormous problems with his strength and aerial power.

He is a completely different type of striker in comparison to Martinez. Jones isn’t the fastest, and at 32 years of age, that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

He also isn’t as potent as the Venezuelan. In the last 10 seasons, the Trinidad international has only hit double digits twice in terms of goals scored. The last time being the 2014-15 season for Cardiff.

But his positioning, especially inside the penalty box, is excellent. He will often find himself in the right place at the right time when the ball is flirting around the oppositions goal. It’s a trait that is very difficult to teach.

He may not score bucket loads of goals, but he scores important ones.

The 32-year old’s hold up play and ability to start counter attacks almost goes unnoticed. He is an excellent team player, who can head the ball on from a goal kick or throw-in to create an opportunity for a teammate to test the keeper or even score.

Martinez has shown plenty of promise so far for the new MLS side, but there is no reason why Jones can’t either. He has been waiting in the shadows at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for his chance to prove his worth to the manager, the fans and the city.

Whether he fits into Martina’s formation and tactics is another matter, but one that can’t be discussed without the Argentine giving him a go.

Perhaps he will use an alternative formation which would make Jones’ a greater asset. A switch from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 might suit the Trinidad striker better. He could get isolated on his own up top so a strike partner that would run onto his flick ons or run down the channels to provide crosses for the 32-year-old wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

It’s whether Martina takes a gamble on changing what is a winning formation.

Many in Atlanta will hope Martinez will be fit in time for the Sounders match, but they shouldn’t worry too much if it is Jones starting at CenturyLink Field.

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Author:

Aspiring Sports Journalist. Studying @ Southampton Solent University. Sport is what I love to write about. Have a read, leave a comment, enjoy.

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