Martinez shines in Union's first-ever Open Cup win
Playing time has been hard to come by for striker Josue Martinez, but he made the most of his 89 minutes on Tuesday night, registering his first goal and first assist in a Union shirt.
“I’m happy for the result,” Martinez said following a 3-0 shutout win against the Rochester Rhinos in US Open Cup third-round action at PPL Park. “We just had to go out there and give it our all, and we came away with the win.”
The 21-year-old Costa Rican opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Rochester failed to clear a Freddy Adu corner kick and Martinez got a touch on the loose ball, poking it just inside the far post.
“Obviously I’m excited to get that first goal,” Martinez continued. “Ever since I’ve come to this country that’s what I’ve been looking for the most. Hopefully this is something that gives me confidence, and I can keep (scoring goals).”
Martinez’s first assist was even more impressive than the goal.
The Union striker was able face up with Rhino fullback Quavas Kirk on the left flank. A quick stop-and-go move created enough room for a curling ball that sailed just over the Rochester center halves. Adu ghosted into the box unmarked and headed home the service.
“I saw both Freddy and (Lionard) Pajoy out the corner of my eye,” explained Martinez. “So I just tried to cross it down and middle and see if one of them could get to it. Luckily Freddy got on the end of it.”
“(Josue) was involved the whole time,” said Union coach John Hackworth, who manned the sidelines in place of the suspended Peter Nowak. “In particular the second goal was a fantastic ball - he puts it just barely over the defender’s head. I was joking with Freddy when we pulled him off. I said that’s the first time he’s ever scored a goal with his head. He told me I was wrong and that he scored one with the U-20’s. I’ll have to look at the video. But it’s hard to miss with that kind of service.”
Martinez had a great sequence of shots in the second half. His rip from 20 yards in the 81st minute was barely brushed over the crossbar by goalkeeper Kristian Nicht.
Two minutes later, an 18-yard drive was parried away by Nicht .The follow-up shot missed wide of the left post by a foot.
“Josue did his job all night on both ends of the ball, and that was good,” Hackworth continued. “He’s a young guy still. He has a ton of potential. We brought him here and thought he had the ability to be the player we saw tonight. It was fantastic. He had a good game.”
“Ever since I came to the United States, that’s what I’ve been looking for, the minutes,” said Martinez. “Getting 89 minutes gives you the confidence to go forward and hopefully get into the starting XI.”