Pity Martinez of Atlanta United FC prepares to lift the trophy after winning the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Logan Riely | Atlanta United
Atlanta United forward Pity Martinez is used to playing in finals.
Before coming to MLS, the former South American Footballer of the Year was a key part of River Plate’s victory over archrival Boca Juniors in the 2018 Copa Libertadores in his native Argentina. On Tuesday, his goal in the 16th minute turned out to be a deciding one as Atlanta held off Minnesota United 2-1 to win the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Martinez not only found the scoresheet, but was involved in the buildup of Atlanta’s opening goal. In the 10th minute against Minnesota, the Argentinian played an inch-perfect toward the box to a streaking Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Minnesota defender Chase Gasper’s failed tackle attempt deflected the ball past a lunging Vito Mannone to put Atlanta up 1-0.
Martinez’s efforts on the night saw him voted TheCup.us Player of the Round for the Final, as voted on by TheCup.us staff, a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters, and members of TheCup.us’s Patreon team that pledge $10 or more. He edged teammate Justin Meram, who delivered the pass on Martinez’s goal, and defender Miles Robinson.
Atlanta United FC celebrates their 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship. Photo: Allison Andrews
A native of Mendoza, Argentina, Martinez came up with his boyhood club of Huracán, joining its senior team in 2011. He then joined storied club River Plate in 2015, where he scored 34 goals across 160 appearances in all competitions with the club. After a successful run there, he signed for Atlanta United for a record $17 million.
Martinez has collected a growing list of honors collected during his playing career. Along with winning three domestic cups in Argentina – once with Huracán and twice with River Plate – he collected a pair of Copa Libertadores titles with River Plate in 2015 and 2018. Just a couple weeks prior, he won Campeones Cup with Atlanta as they defeated América 3-2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Now, he can add U.S. Open Cup champion to his list.
Martinez becomes just the second player from Argentina to win TheCup.us Player of the Round. The first was Mauro Diaz of FC Dallas who won the award twice in 2016 (Semifinals, Final), including being named TheCup.us Player of the Tournament.
2019 TheCup.us Player of the Round winners
Round 1: Charles Boateng (Richmond Kickers, USL-1)
Round 2: Bryant Martin (Florida Soccer Soldiers, USASA)
Round 3: Blake Frischknecht (Orange County FC, NPSL)
Round 4: Teal Bunbury (New England Revolution, MLS)
Round 5: Sam Fink (Saint Louis FC, USL-C)
Quarterfinals: Adam Grinwis (Orlando City SC, MLS)
Semifinals: Mason Toye (Minnesota United FC, MLS)
Final: Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez (Atlanta United FC, MLS)