Valentin Castellanos scored a hat-trick and added a first-half assist as New York City FC defeated the New York Red Bulls, 5-2, at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. The win kept NYCFC in the hunt for a home playoff game heading into next Sunday's Decision Day presented by AT&T. The five goals are the most they have ever scored against their crosstown rivals.
NYCFC opened things up in the 11th minute as Castellanos headed home a perfect ball from Maxi Moralez, while Brian White drilled a pretty right-footed strike from beyond the top of the box to level things up for the Red Bulls in the 18th.
NYC had a flurry of offensive activity that it couldn't convert for the second goal, and they were left rueing the missed opportunity as in the 38th minute, a shot inside the area by Cristian Casseres Jr. deflected off the foot of Maxime Chanot and crossed the line.
Four minutes later, though, the Cityzens found themselves level once more as Castellanos cued a nifty touch to Gary Mackay-Steven, with the Scotsman doing the rest to make it 2-2. They'd take the lead in the 51st minute as Alexander Ring fired a banger past Ryan Meara for his 4th goal of the season.
The match took on a wide-open feel as the cross-river rivals looked to lay claim to three points in the penultimate game of the regular season, but it was Castellanos striking again with just under a quarter-hour remaining as he tacked on a classy insurance goal to ensure a split of the season series for the Cityzens. He would complete his hat trick by converting an 84th-minute penalty, the 4th regular-season hat trick in club history.
- NYC — 12' — Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- RBNY — 18' — Brian White | WATCH
- RBNY — 38'—Cristian Casseres Jr. | WATCH
- NYC — 42' — Gary Mackay-Steven | WATCH
- NYC — 51' — Alexander Ring | WATCH
- NYC — 76' — Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- NYC — 84' — Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: NYCFC is still in the hunt for a home playoff spot for now, and if they ultimately get there, they’ll have a virtuoso performance from Castellanos to thank for it. For the Red Bulls, it’s far from the performance they wanted going into the playoffs, especially with Toronto FC coming to town next week trying to secure their second Supporters' Shield.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Taty will get the headlines, but what a hit from Alex Ring. After watching White's golazo, the midfielder gave NYCFC the lead for good with a blast of his own.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It goes without saying that Castellanos is the easy call here. A hat trick and an assist equaled his best performance in a New York City kit.