Mike Grella's first major contribution for the New York Red Bulls was a historic one.
Just seconds after taking the field in the club's Week 4 road game against Columbus Crew SC, Grella lifted his side to a 2-1 win by lifting a looping shot over goalkeeper Steve Clark in the 67th minute. While the goal was special in that it was Grella's first MLS tally, it also held the significance of being the 1,000th goal in New York's history in all competitions. The Red Bulls are the fifth club to reach that mark, following the LA Galaxy (1,222), D.C. United (1,182), FC Dallas (1,040) and Crew SC (1,010).
What made things even more fitting was the fact that the goal came from a native of the area. The 28-year-old Grella, who has previously played for clubs like Leeds United and the Carolina RailHawks, is from Glen Cove, N.Y. The first goal in club history actually come from another Long Islander, albeit a transplant: Venezuelan international Giovanni Savarese, a former player at LIU and Long Island Rough Rider, scored the MetroStars' first goal on April 13, 1996.
More importantly than where it falls in Red Bulls history, Grella's goal helped New York move into first place in the Eastern Conference. The club are now 2-0-1 in their first three games under new head coach Jesse Marsch.