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. 

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.

MLS Daily: Big wins for New York City FC and Atlanta United.

The two sides scored a whopping ten goals between them!

It was goals, goals, goals on Sunday in the MLS, with both New York City FC and Atlanta United recording huge wins after their opening round defeats.

NYCFC, who were beaten 1-0 in Orlando last week, thumped DC United 4-0 at Yankee Stadium.

Captain David Villa netted a brace, with Rodney Wallace and Maxi Moralez both scoring their first goals for New York respectively.

It was a commanding performance from Patrick Vieira’s men, who are looking to once again challenge in the end of season Play-Offs.

The former-Arsenal skipper has been in the New York job for just over a year, and the Frenchman insists his team will only get better.

“It was a great team performance,” he told the press after the match.

“It was important to win our first home match and we did that really well.

“After the Orlando game, I told the players to play the same way because we did create chances but didn’t take them. Today we did take our changes, and we will go and celebrate what was a very good win.”

Moralez, who also got two assists as well as the goal, echoed his manager’s thoughts. He told @NYCFC after the game: “We must carry on playing like this throughout the season.

“I am very happy to have scored the goal but also to have played my debut in front of the supporters and get the win.”

It was also a day to remember for Atlanta, who recorded their first ever MLS win with a 6-1 demolition of fellow new boys Minnesota United.

Despite the freezing cold weather, Atlanta were in red hot form. Josef Martinez racked up the first MLS hat-trick of the season, with Miguel Almiron scoring twice and Jacob Peterson also finding the net for Tito Martino’s team.

After their heartbreaking 2-1 home defeat to New York Red Bulls last week, Atlanta showed the world their true potential as they aim to claim a stake for one of the Eastern Conference’s play-off spots.

Martinez told the Atlanta Journal Constitution after the game: “It’s always nice to score, even more so when it’s three, but the most important thing is that the team got the win tonight and it feels really good to get the first in in team history.”

Head coach Martino admitted he had never managed a game in the snow before, and said after the match:  “Above all, we played a simple game and avoided problems overall.

“I think if it wasn’t so snowy, we would’ve been able to play more like we did in the first 15 minutes.

“We would’ve liked to have had our first win in the first game, but we’re happy with the first win as a team.”

Elsewhere, Portland kept up their 100% start to the new season with a 1-0 win at LA Galaxy, who themselves are yet to register a single point this campaign.

MLS Daily: Late heartbreak for Atlanta.

It was almost a winning start in MLS for Gerardo Martino’s men. 

It was a famous night in the state of Georgia which nearly ended in ecstasy for the home fans.

Argetine midfielder Yamil Asad scored Atlanta’s first ever goal in MLS after 25 minutes with a first time finish at the back post from Tyrone Mears’ cross.

For a majority of the match, the home side seemed comfortably against a well-organised New York Red Bulls team.

Atlanta, who are coached by former Barcelona and Argentina boss Martino, were just 18 minutes away from victory before the visitors equalised through Daniel Royer.

The home team would have probably taken a point at the start of the evening, but even that was cruelly taken away from them when the unfortunate Anton Walkes put the ball into his own net.

With Atalanta pushing for a late equaliser, Carlos Carmona lost his cool and the Spaniard was sent off for violent conduct to end any chance of a comeback for the home team.

Martino however was pleased with his team’s performance and told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution afterwards: “We were much closer to converting a second goal then they were to equalise.

“They managed to turn the score around but I think we had started to control the game again up until they scored that leveller.”

“We want to be a team that is very aggressive and quickly win the ball back when we lose it. The message we want to put out there is that we are a team that is very comfortable in this league and is excited to represent the city.”

Goalscorer Asad added: “It was a joy to score (Atlanta’s first ever MLS goal). I’m very excited to be a part of the club’s history, but I’m unhappy that we lost. We still have a lot of things to work on.”

Red Bulls’ playmaker Sacha Kljestan, who was made club captain during the off-season, said: “Atlanta seem to be doing a lot of things right.

“Their training facility is top-notch and the atmosphere of the stadium with the fans was amazing. Atlanta as a team are very good- I think they will do pretty well this season.”

Jesse Marsch, Head Coach of the New York Red Bulls, praised the mentality of his team but was also full of praise for the opposition.

“Atlanta tested us in big way in the first half  but we hung in there,” he said.

“At half-time, we asked the players to put a little bit more effort in and be a little bit clearer tactically. I thought for the most part we did that.

The effort in the second half  was really good, and it was a great comeback. There is a lot of spirit within this team.”

Elsewhere last night, Orlando kicked off their new season with a 1-0 win over New York City FC.

Cyle Larin scored the only goal of the game, as Orlando opened their new stadium with victory.

Vancouver Whitecaps could only draw 0-0 at home to Philadelphia Union.