1. It is the Valentín Castellanos and Thiago show for New York City FC
After scoring all of the goals for New York City FC last weekend, both Valentín Castellanos and Thiago were once again the stars of the show against Toronto FC. Both forwards played fantastically, and arguably are why the team is walking away with a win after the defensive blunders.
To start, Castellanos had nine shots and four on target. NYCFC had 22 shots in total, so the Argentine was responsible for about 40% of the shots. This highlights his never-back-down personality on the pitch, and how he will try everything to score. Plus, after his offensive effort, he had a goal and an assist too.
It was actually Castellanos who started the comeback for NYCFC. The team was down 2-0, but in the 38th minute, Thiago had one of his fantastic runs on the right side. When the winger got closer to goal, he picked out Castellanos and passed the ball to him. The striker, as the ball came toward him, fell to the ground. As he fell, his foot made contact with the ball, and directed it into the goal.
In the second half, the Argentine went to assist on the 54th minute goal from Santiago Rodríguez. It was actually Alexander Callens who started the attacking chance, for he intercepted the ball. Castellanos immediately reacted to the interception, and sent the ball to Rodríguez. The midfielder took a few steps before putting the ball past the goalkeeper, Alex Bono, and put NYCFC ahead for the first time in the match. Castellanos’ ability to quickly react is so vital to how he plays his game, and part of why he does well in the final third.
Castellanos’ attacking effort did not steal the show entirely, for Thiago played one of his best matches. He had three shots with two on target, the assist to Castellanos’ goal, and then his own goal as well. It was his goal that tied the game, and led to the start if the four-goal second half. Originally, Talles Magno took a shot, but it was deflected off of a Toronto defender, and then fell directly to Thiago in front of goal. With no one in front of the winger, he was able to tap it in.
It was not just the goal and assist that led to the Thiago show throughout the fixture. The Brazilian’s speed made him a threat in the final third, and his runs on the right side allowed for attacking opportunities from multiple NYCFC players.
He also broke his opposition’s ankles a few times, for he was easily able to manoeuvre around the Reds. He even had a few defensive moments as well, including the moment in the second half where he ran from the attack into the midfield to help retrieve the ball and start another attacking threat. Overall, Thiago was basically everywhere, and vital to the offensive effort.
Thankfully, the attacking players did their jobs, and the other goals from Keaton Parks and Gabriel Pereira led to New York City FC scoring five, and solidified the win. Defensively, the game might have been a nightmare without players like Castellanos and Thiago. The two were surely the stars of the show, and rather than having a man of the match, they were the men of the match.