The MLS announced their list of candidates for the MLS MVP Award in 2017. And while the list compiles 53 players from 21 teams, there are a few who are clear favorites for the Award.

Diego Valeri, David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic and Sebastian Giovinco could all receive decent consideration to be the MVP. However, the clear-cut favorite should be Josef Martinez. The former Torino attacker has enough merits to take home the Award in his first season in the MLS.

The numbers do not lie. Martinez joined Atlanta United before the start of the season this year, and he could not have started the campaign on a higher note. The Venezuela international netted a hat-trick in his second game in the league when Atlanta won 6-1 against Minnesota United.

It became clear Martinez was too good for the league right from the get-go. But what’s more impressive is that he has managed to maintain that pace during the entire campaign. In fact, Martinez is having a historically good season if we consider his scoring averages because he currently averages 0.94 goals per game. Had it not been for his injuries, Martinez’s numbers would be even better.

A Huge Season And An Impressive September Campaign

Martinez has only played 19 matches in the regular season and has contributed with 18 goals and one assist. He also won the Player Of The Month Award in September quite deservedly, after netting nine goals in seven appearances over that month. Martinez also scored consecutive hat-tricks against New England Revolution and Orlando City SC. Here is the video of his impressive individual effort against The Revs:

And here we have his hat-trick against The Lions:

Talk about versatility, huh? In those six goals, we can see he has lots of resources to score. One header, one impressive finish, one poacher’s effort, two penalties, and one goal where he showcased his excellent instincts inside the box. In short – he is good.

He is a vital piece of an attacking line that also includes Miguel Almiron, Yamil Asad, and Hector Villalba. All four have had MVP-level campaigns, but Martinez certainly highlights among the rest. And while playing 2/3 of the season might hamper against them, it only takes a look at his numbers to see how big he has been for Atlanta, an expansion side that already has the makings of a powerhouse in the MLS in their first year.

And Martinez has played a big role on that.