The New York City FC midfielder scored two goals after drawing a pair of penalties to lead NYCFC to a 4-2 home win over the Union on Saturday.
Maxi Moralez scored both PK goals and added two assists for NYCFC, who remain unbeaten at home on the season and unbeaten in their last 11 overall.
The first-place Union, eliminated at Yankee Stadium in last season’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, got off to a fast start there with New York City native Fafa Picault scoring in the 7th minute following a great turn on a ball from Jamiro Monteiro.
The Cityzens evened the score on Moralez’s first penalty kick in the 23rd minute after Auston Trusty took down Castellanos in the box. Jack Elliott, who had a brilliant goal-line clearance on what looked like a sure Anton Tinnerholm goal a few minutes earlier, had a mishit that allowed Castellanos to get behind the Philly defense on the play.
Kacper Przybylko blasted one into the back of the net in the 30th minute. He was set up for his team-leading sixth goal by some more Ilsinho magic along the sideline and a flick from Monteiro, giving the Philly midfielder two assists on the night.
But NYCFC again leveled on a Moralez PK, this one coming in the 55th minute after Alejandro Bedoya was called for a penalty on Castellanos, who scored the game-winner in the 72nd minute following an excellent passing sequence.
The 20-year-old Argentinian sealed the win in the 78th minute on a give-and-go with Moralez, snapping Philly’s four-game unbeaten streak.
- 7' — PHI — Fafa Picault | WATCH
- 23' — NYC — Maxi Moralez PK | WATCH
- 30' — PHI — Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- 55' — NYC — Maxi Moralez PK | WATCH
- 71' — NYC — Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- 78' — NYC — Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: NYCFC sent a lesson to the upstart Union, rallying from two deficits despite missing several key players to international duty and injury. It should be a scary thought to Philly that NYCFC still has four games in hand on them after not having played an MLS game in more than three weeks before Saturday’s tilt.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The penalty calls may have changed the momentum but Philly could have still escaped New York with a point if not for Castellanos’ well-struck go-ahead goal.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Drawing two penalties and scoring two goals is quite a night for Castellanos, who helped NYCFC make up for the scoring absence of injured striker Heber in a big way.