ATLANTA - MLS Cup Most Valuable Player Josef Martinez was in a thankful mood following his team's 2-0 triumph over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, shouting out everybody from coach Tata Martino to teammate Miguel Almiron.
The Venezuelan forward didn't go as far as to call out every one of the record 73,019 who attended the championship match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, although for portions of his post-match news conference it felt as though he was headed that way.
"It's been a special week for me," Martinez said through an interpreter. "Before the game, I had a moment with Miguel, and I just thanked him for all of the help that he's given me over these two seasons. I told him that he was going to make me a champion today, because I had never been a champion before, so I want to thank him for that.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody: the coaching staff, the players, the fans, the city. I know it's been a long time since they had a championship, and I think they deserved it."
The title was Atlanta's first in a major professional sport since the Braves won the World Series in 1995, and won in large part thanks to Martinez's contributions.
Martinez, who was also named the league's overall MVP earlier this week having netted 31 regular-season goals, opened the scoring in the 39th minute and played a key role in the second, too. He won the foul that resulted in the free kick that he then headed into Franco Escobar's path to double the lead, sending the home crowd into further hysterics.
"I was feeling a lot of pressure for this game," Martinez said. "Neighbors were putting flags all around my house, and pushing notes under my door. I had a lot of pressure to deal with. But I just wanted to say thank you again to everyone, to the fans, who deserve it, and to be able to do it in this building."