HANOVER, N.J. – Without a bat or ball in tow, Red Bull Matt Miazga still made plenty of noise with his goal celebration on Sunday night.
Playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time in his team's history, the New Jersey native stepped up to the plate in every sense of the word during that night's rivalry match against NYCFC. Not only did he shut down Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, David Villa, but the 19-year-old drove home the nail in NYCFC’s coffin after heading home the third goal for the Red Bulls.
What followed was a moment that will forever endear him to the Metro faithful, while making him public enemy number one in the Bronx. Standing near what would be the third base line, Miazga swung for the fences, looking to deposit a souvenir in the direction of the traveling Red Bulls support:
As it turns out, the jab at NYCFC's home stadium wasn't totally spontaneous – and a teammate originally dreamed it up.
“A few days before the game, Felipe mentioned to the guys that when we score, we should do it,” Miazga told MLSsoccer.com “After the first two goals, it was just crazy; we didn’t have time to think. But once I scored, me and Felipe made eye contact and I said, 'Let’s go do it.'”
“It was a good little moment,” he continued.“It was just for fun.”
Felipe, meanwhile, said that while he had hoped that he would end up on the score sheet himself, he was still happy to send a message to NYCFC.
“We have [Red Bull Arena] ... and they have Yankee Stadium," he said. "They always talk trash about anything but they forget that they don’t have a stadium. They’re new, they’re the little babies in this city and they have to know that New York is red. We are here to stay.”
Admittedly far from a baseball fan, Miazga may have aimed for the upper deck, but failed to impress his New York-area teammates.
“I don’t think that was really a homerun swing,” Long Island native Mike Grella joked. “That one probably wouldn’t have made it out of the infield. But it was good, it’s part of the rivalry and being two up on them now.”
The next meeting between the two New York clubs is still over a month away, giving the Red Bulls some time iron out the kinks.
“Maybe we’ll have to practice those celebrations a little more,” defender Connor Lade said. “You can tell Matt hasn’t played a ton of baseball in his life. We’ll have to take him to the batting cages around here and really show him how it’s done.”