Atlanta United fans demand the return of Josef Martínez
The Five Stripes boss Gabriel Heinze explained that the absence of the 2018 MLS MVP was his decision and it has nothing to do with his fitness.
Tension continues in the locker room of Atlanta United between players and the manager Gabriel Heinze. On Saturday, the Five Stripes hosted the New England Revolution for week 13 of the 2021 Major League Soccer season without the 2018 MVP, Josef Martínez. Atlanta lost 1-0 and the fans at the Mercedes-Benz were heard chanting Martinez’s name after the game.
Boss Gabriel Heinze explained Martínez absence
"He doesn't have any kind of fitness problem. It's my decision that he trains away from the team. He'll continue to train on his own. Asked if it was disciplinary, Heinze said "I have my reasons and I'm very clear on those reasons."
Prior to the game against the Revolution, Atlanta’s boss said that Martínez’s absence from the roster was his decision and it was not fitness-related. According to journalist Felipe Cárdenas, the Venezuelan striker has been training on his own for over a week, despite being cleared by the medical staff.
Martinez was initially separated from the team because he tested positive for covid-19 during the Copa América, and even though he was vaccinated he was forced to miss the entire tournament. The last game Martínez played was on 29 May in a 2-2 draw at home against Nashville.
Once he was tested negative for covid-19, Martínez traveled to Atlanta to join the group ahead of the match against the Revolution. Everything seemed normal until it was reported he had been training on his own all week and Heinze decided to leave him out of the roster against New England.