Luquinhas developing bangers-only habit for New York Red Bulls

Is there an MLS Newcomer of the Year case brewing at Red Bull Arena?

That question is certainly up for debate, but there’s no doubt about the following: New York Red Bulls attacking midfielder Luquinhas can produce certified bangers.

The Brazilian’s latest came in a 2-0 win over visiting Toronto FC on Saturday night, chipping goalkeeper Quentin Westberg with an instinctive one-time shot after he blocked Tom Barlow's initial attempt.

Watch the 56th-minute strike yourself:

As for Luquinhas, it was more a second-nature attempt than anything else.

“When I saw it, I didn’t think twice,” the 25-year-old said postgame. “When I saw the keeper out, right away, I knew I had to do it. It was quick thinking from me and I knew I had to hit it right away.”

The spectacle was reminiscent of an impressive brace Luquinhas produced just before the June international break, helping sink D.C. United in a 4-1 home victory. His second goal on that May 28 evening was the most stunning, a right-footed volley off a failed D.C. clearance that picked out the top corner.

He has a knack for making the difficult look easy.

“Goals like this usually also come with luck and I’ve had a lot on my side as well,” Luquinhas said. “But also, the quality to know that when I see it, I have to hit it in."

Luquinhas joined RBNY in February from Polish powerhouse side Legia Warsaw, signing a Designated Player deal through 2024 and with a 2025 option. Before arriving stateside, he led back-to-back league titles and was named 2020-21 Ekstraklasa Midfielder of the Season.

Not a bad piece of business, it turns out, by the Eastern Conference's second-place team. He's on five goals and two assists through 14 matches (nine starts).

“I've been very happy with the team here,” Luquinhas said. “I actually have adjusted to the team and how they play here. It has made me very happy and that's why when I'm out there I play with a smile and I make sure I'm part of the team as well.”