The former Leeds United youngster scored his second goal in as many games on Friday night as Jesse Marsch's men thumped FC Dallas 4-0 at Red Bull Arena.
Former Leeds United forward Mike Grella was on the scoresheet for the second straight game for the New York Red Bulls on Friday night as they made it back-to-back wins with a 4-0 victory at home over FC Dallas.
Lloyd Sam opened the scoring for the hosts in the 37th-minute off a well-worked set-piece play before helping double their lead seven minutes after the restart, catching Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez off guard with a long chip which bounced off the crossbar for Sacha Kljestan to follow up for the finish.
Grella, who previously scored and set up another in last Sunday’s 3-2 win over Orlando City SC, then made it 3-0 in the 71st-minute when he headed home Felipe’s bending cross for his third goal of the season, before Felipe himself iced the result seven minutes from time with a powerful strike from distance.
After claiming the Supporters’ Shield title last season, the Red Bulls had been enduring a slow start to the 2016 campaign, winning one and losing six of their opening seven games, but two consecutive victories has since seen them climb up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Their latest display was especially impressive given it came against a Dallas side currently leading the league with 17 points, and Grella was quick to stress after the match that he feels the team have now turned a corner.
“[We’re] lust working hard as a group, being sharp, being better with the ball, being tight at the back, defending and attacking as a group,” he told newyorkredbulls.com. “And, you know, listen, we're doing the same things it's just we're starting to raise the level and really get it going now.
“I think it's naturally just tougher to get results on the road but for sure we've played some very good away games as well. It is a great atmosphere here, we have great fans, they give us all the confidence in the world and this is the best arena to play in in the league.
“So those are all reasons but for sure I think this group has put in some very valiant effort and some good performances home and away. We just love playing here.”
Grella, 29, originally joined the Red Bulls in February 2015 after enjoying a successful trial and went on establish himself as a regular starter on the left wing during his debut campaign in MLS, racking up 29 regular season appearances with nine goals and seven assists to help Jesse Marsch’s men win the Supporters’ Shield and earn a nomination for the league’s Newcomer of the Year award.
Having previously failed to fulfil his potential during a five-year stint in Europe and brief spell with the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, the former Leeds and Brentford striker had been considering retirement before linking up with his hometown club, but there is now growing support for him to receive a first US national team call-up.
He remains a longshot to earn a place in the squad for the Copa America Centenario this summer, but if he can keep his current run of form going over the coming months, it will be hard for Jurgen Klinsmann to ignore him for much longer.