The ex-Leeds United man's goal in Sunday night's 2-1 friendly win over Benfica landed him the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays.
The 28-year-old American justified his new “Grelladinho” nickname in Sunday night’s International Champions Cup clash against Benfica at Red Bull Arena with a stunning strike which managed to get the attention of the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports”.
With the game evenly balanced at 1-1 after teammate Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 33rd-minute strike cancelled out Pizzi’s seventh-minute opener, the former Leeds United man popped up 11 minutes after the break to grab what proved to be the winner, netting a fantastic curling shot from the edge of the box.
The result might have been meaningless in the grand scheme of things – with the Portuguese champions in pre-season mode – but Grella’s moment of magic further emphasised the impressive career revival he is going through in New York.
A former First-Team All-American and top college prospect after scoring 41 goals for the Duke Blue Devils between 2005 and 2008, the promising forward spurned the chance to start his pro career in MLS back in 2009 in order to explore European options through his Italian passport.
He soon found a home in England with then-League One side Leeds following a successful trial but, despite going on to show some flashes of potential, could not manage to hold down a regular first-team place during his two-and-a-half seasons at Elland Road.
Released in August 2011 after scoring five goals in 42 total appearances for the club, the former US Under-20 international then bounced around England’s lower leagues and spent time at Danish outfit Viborg before returning stateside to join the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL in April 2014.
His spell in the US second tier was an uneventful one, however, and left him considering retirement before getting one last chance to showcase his talent as a pre-season trialist with the Red Bulls.
Impressing enough to land a permanent deal ahead of the 2015 campaign, the Long Island-native has since proved a revelation for his hometown team, wowing fans with his highlight reel-filled performances, while netting six goals in 21 games from the left wing.
Once labelled a future US national team star, a first call-up to Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad might not even be far off he keeps up his current form over the coming months – an event which would mark an amazing turnaround for the once-struggling Leeds misfit.