The 24-year-old Libyan is arguably the best under-the-radar signing of the Major League Soccer offseason and he’s given NYCFC that much needed second scoring option behind David Villa.
But is that strike rate even sustainable?
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira doesn’t see why not.
“I think the games we played, the way we play suits him as well,” Vieira said. “When you are in front of the goal and you have players like that, you know that they will create five and they will score three or four. This is good for us, especially the way we want to play the game.”
The soft-spoken Tajouri-Shradi appreciates the attention, but he is uncomfortable with it. The focus, he insists, is not on his individual accomplishments in the past, it’s about a massive showdown with Atlanta United Saturday (12:30 pm ET | TV & Streaming info) at Yankee Stadium.
“Of course it’s very good for me, I’m very happy about that, but the focus is now on the Atlanta game,” said Tajouri-Shradi, who scored a brace in a 3-0 win over Orlando City SC last Saturday. “What happened last week is gone. I must focus on the Atlanta game to make a good performance for me and for the team, of course.”
Tajouri-Shradi credits his teammates for helping him immediately in the preseason, making the transition to a new league and country seamless.
“The first day when I come here in preseason, the team made it very easy for me,” he said. “The team took me in and I felt very comfortable with this great team and with the coaching staff. From the first moment, it was a good feeling and I can now give this back.”
It was in preseason that goalkeeper Sean Johnson said he first noticed the clinical quality of Tajouri-Shradi’s magical left foot and his unabated work ethic.
“He’s a special player and I’ve said it since Day One he’s a special attacking talent,” he said. “It’s not often you come across a player not only with his talent, but his mentality is just relentless. It’s just go, go, go and nothing fazes him. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Vieira credited the team’s scouting department for recognizing a player that could thrive in NYCFC’s system despite not showing the same scoring prowess with Austria Wien.
“He’s making a name for himself because he’s working hard,” Vieira said. “Every time he has a chance, he’s really composed and he’s really calm in front of the goal. With the left foot, when he hits the target, nine times out of 10 he will score the goal.”