The 28-year-old American opened the scoring for the New York Red Bulls at the Houston Dynamo but could not prevent his side from falling to a 4-2 defeat.
New York Red Bulls forward Mike Grella continued his recent impressive run of form on Friday night with his third goal of the season in a 4-2 defeat at the Houston Dynamo.
The ex-Leeds United man opened the scoring in the 42nd-minute at BBVA Compass Stadium with some fancy footwork after receiving Bradley Wright-Phillips’ ball on the left, as he surged past Dynamo defender Raul Rodriguez and forced a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tyler Deric from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Red Bulls would have to settle for their third straight league defeat on the night, however, as the tide of the game turned just before the hour when Houston substitute Boniek Garcia’s deflected effort from the edge of the area looped over visiting shot-stopper Luis Robles for the equaliser.
Midfielder Ricardo Clark then gave the home side the lead 18 minutes from the end after connecting with Garcia’s corner, before striker Will Bruin extended their advantage eight minutes later to leave New York reeling.
Substitute Anatole Abang’s stoppage-time header gave the visitors some hope of a comeback but Bruin added his second of the game soon after to seal the result.
While the performance of Grella, who looked dialed in throughout, was a clear positive, the Red Bulls’ recent plight is cause for concern after their positive start to the 2015 MLS season.
Jesse Marsch’s men were the league’s last undefeated team nine weeks into the campaign but a run of just one win in eight matches has since seen the rest of the Eastern Conference catch up.
With Thierry Henry retiring in the offseason, the team’s lack of firepower is clearly starting to show and, while winter addition Grella is doing a commendable job in the Frenchman’s old left wing role, some more attacking reinforcements will be much-needed come the opening of the transfer window next month.