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Atlanta’s Josef Martinez gets Green Card, clearing international spot for Remedi

Jul 4, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) celebrates a goal against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — The path for Eric Remedi to join Atlanta United FC has almost been cleared.

For the club’s newly-signed Argentine midfielder to join the team, the club had to do three things: secure his visa, free up a roster spot and open an international player slot.

The latter of the three has been accomplished. The club announced Monday that Josef Martínez — the leader in Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot race — has secured his United States Green Card, which frees up an international roster spot for the Five Stripes. Remedi will fill that open spot when he joins the team.

Martínez, 25, has scored 18 goals this season in his first 20 appearances. It is the second time he has accomplished this feat, scoring 19 goals in 20 games last season. The only other MLS player to do this was Landon Donovan.

The MLS scoring record for a single season is 27 goals. Martínez’s teammates seem to think he’ll shatter the mark.

“Yeah, he’s going to break it,” said Atlanta midfielder Julian Gressel. “He finishes his chances, it’s as simple as that. (Against Philadelphia) he was very good for us (and) not just when he scored the penalty. He worked hard, checked back and I think you could tell today that he really wanted to win the game.”

A native of Venezuela, Martínez is the latest member of the Five Stripes to earn a Green Card. Atlanta has also worked with Chris McCann, Héctor “Tito” Villalba, Kevin Kratz and Romario Williams to obtain Green Cards.

Currently occupying international slots for Atlanta is Miguel Almirón, Leandro González Pírez, Franco Escobar, Ezequiel Barco, Jon Gallagher and Gressel.

The signing of Remedi, 23, was announced June 26, but he wasn’t eligible to train with the club until Tuesday, the day the MLS transfer window opened for the summer. Remedi was not at the team’s training ground in Marietta, Ga. on Tuesday.

Prior to Atlanta’s game against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, hosts of the Fox Sports South pregame show asked the club’s technical director, Carlos Bocanegra, if they should expect any more signings soon.

Said Bocanegra: “No, (Remedi) will be our last piece of the summer.”

Notes:

  • Darlington Nagbe’s wife Felicia gave birth to a baby boy, Isaiah, last week.
  • Villalba said at training on Tuesday that his national team switch from Argentina to Paraguay is “going well” but he doesn’t have a timetable for completing the move. Villalba, 23, confirmed in June that he was making the national team switch. Villalba was born in Argentina, but his father born in Paraguay. He told MLSsoccer.com that he doesn’t know his dad and is making the switch “for my mom.” He has never been capped by the Argentina national team. Joining Paraguay would make him a national club teammate of Almirón.
  • Paul Christensen made six saves on Friday, but ATL UTD 2 fell 6-1 to New York Red Bulls II. ATL UTD are now 2-5-9 on the season, second from last in the United Soccer League standings.
  • In case you haven’t heard, Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Real Madrid for Juventus. And Juventus is playing in Atlanta on Aug. 1 against the MLS All-Stars. Atlanta United’s social media team didn’t waste any time in hyping up a possible Ronaldo appearance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium…

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