Josef Martinez's brilliant campaign with Atlanta United experienced another touchstone moment on Wednesday, with the Venezuela native collecting Major League Soccer 'MVP' honors for the 2018 season.
Four months ago, the cat-quick and powerful Martinez established a new single-season scoring record for the MLS, notching his 28th goal of the year–and in typically stellar fashion.
For that August night, Martinez's goal (74th minute) ended up as the game-winner; but this occurrence took an obligatory backseat to history being made.
And now, come Saturday night, Martinez will be playing for the ultimate prize, a winner-take-all match with Portland for the MLS Cup (at Mercedes-Benz Stadium).
United had a 1-2 finish with MVP voting, as Martinez (48 percent for first place) and Miguel Almiron (15 percent) easily outdistanced the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Vela.
Martinez's MVP award, bearing the name of former U.S. Men's National Team icon Landon Donovan, has great significance within his native country:
Josef represents the first Venezuelan to capture the MLS's highest honor, and only the eighth South American to lift the Donovan trophy.
Since 1996, the MLS MVP award has been presented annually to the individual deemed 'most valuable to his club by players, management and the media.'