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Josef Martinez suspended by Atlanta Untied for 'conduct detrimental to the team'

The team announced the one-week suspension on Wednesday, without elaborating what prompted it.

ATLANTA — Atlanta United announced on Wednesday they were suspending star forward Josef Martinez for one week for "conduct detrimental to the team."

In a brief release, the club did not elaborate on what prompted the suspension.

United said Martinez would not participate in team activities this week and would not be available to play in Saturday's game against Toronto FC. He can return to the team on Monday, Sept. 12.

The Athletic, citing team sources, reported that the suspension came following an "altercation" between Martinez and United coach Gonzalo Pineda after the team's latest loss over the weekend, a 2-1 defeat against the Portland Timbers.

That report described the altercation as happening after Martinez knocked over a table and then Pineda confronting him, with the two needing to be "physically separated."

Martinez has been the face of the franchise since Atlanta United began playing in MLS in 2017, and is by far the club's all-time leading goal-scorer.

Injuries have caused him to miss some time the past few seasons, however, including at the beginning of this year, and his inconsistent health and production have mirrored United's struggles as a team - missing the playoffs in 2020, going out in the first round last year and on track to miss them again this year.

Last summer, then-coach Gabriel Heinze had Martinez training on his own away from the club for a period amid reported issues between the two. 

Heinze was fired shortly after that, and Pineda became United's permanent manager last August.

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