Atlanta United's Josef Martinez wins 2018 Major League Soccer MVP award
Atlanta United's Josef Martinez was named Major League Soccer's Landon Donovan MVP for the 2018 season on Wednesday.
Martinez, 25, had a record-breaking season in his second year with Atlanta, scoring the most goals in league history with 31 goals in 34 games on his way to the Golden Boot award and helping lead the team to Saturday's MLS Cup final against the Portland Timbers.
The Atlanta striker's teammate Miguel Almiron finished second in the voting, while LA Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic finished third, with D.C. United's Wayne Rooney fourth and LAFC's Carlos Vela fifth.
"I'm very happy because this is an award we all wanted," Martinez said through a translator after receiving the award. "It is due to a lot of work by myself, my teammates, my coaching staff and my family. I just want to thank all those people.
"If it wasn't for all [my teammates], all the passes they assisted me on this season, the spectacular year that all of them had, we wouldn't be talking about this award or talking about Atlanta United playing in the final."
Martinez added three goals in the playoffs so far as Atlanta won the Eastern Conference title and the newly minted MVP said he is eager to add one more trophy to his collection.
"We want to be champions," Martinez said. "We've been working two seasons for this opportunity. We don't want to let it slip away."
When asked what he plans to do with the MVP award, Martinez couldn't resist having some fun.
"I'm going to put it on top of my car," he joked. "So when I leave my house, everybody can see it every day."
Martinez passed Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips, who were all tied with 27, for the all-time MLS goals mark on Aug. 24, netting his 28th goal of the season against Orlando City.
The Venezuela international joins recent winners Diego Valeri (2017) of the Portland Timbers, New York City FC's David Villa (2016) and Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco (2015) on the list of MLS MVPs.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.