Meanwhile, Cory Burke has equaled C.J. Sapong's scoring total (just two goals, but still) and has taken 16 shots in 376 minutes played, compared to Sapong's 32 shots in 1,226 minutes.
Union manager Jim Curtin is asked about this every time he takes a microphone, to the point where he's surprised when he isn't. He was asked again on Thursday, and offered his latest defense of Sapong's potential.
"C.J. is a very good striker," Curtin said. "In a lot of ways, strikers are only judged by their goal total, and that's sometimes fair, sometimes unfair. I'd say he's in a stretch now where yes, he's frustrated. He wants to help the team. He puts maximum effort into games."
The question may be more about skill than effort. Curtin didn't say that himself, but he dropped some fairly big hints that he's aware of it.
"The timing and the movement in front of goal, we've been a little bit off, whether it's been with the service or his runs," he said, and later added: "It's a thing we talked with C.J. about this week: Fully commit to a hard near-post run. At least you'll take a defender with you. The cross might not be perfect, but let's be committed to run like that in the box."
Sapong does some things well, especially off the ball. But he might be focusing too much on those duties, and not the one that matters most.
"He does still do all the defensive running … maybe sometimes too much defensively, and I've had that discussion with him," Curtin said. "Finding that balance is still something we're working on."
With half the season done, is there enough time left to allow for "finding that balance?" Curtin signaled he'll give Sapong the chance.
"Cory has put in good performances for us," Curtin said. "We have to do what's best for the team in the moment, and we do have to find a way to get C.J. going."
Saturday, 7 p.m. at Talen Energy Stadium
Union's record: 6-8-3, 21 points (8th in the East); 5-2-2 at home
Atlanta's record: 11-4-4, 37 points (1st in the East); 5-2-2 on the road
Series history: Atlanta 2 wins, Union 0 wins, 1 tie
At Talen Energy Stadium: Atlanta 0 wins, Union 0 wins, 1 tie
F Josef Martínez: Major League Soccer's top scorer this year shows no signs of letting up his electric form. He has 17 goals this season, including two this past Wednesday at FC Dallas.