The former Leeds United attacker netted both goals as Jesse Marsch's men beat the Seattle Sounders 2-0 at Red Bull Arena.
The former Leeds United forward opened the scoring 18 minutes into the match at Red Bull Arena, slotting home from close-range after reacting quickest when Sacha Kljestan’s curling shot bounced off the far post and into the middle of the box.
He went on to grab his second just before the hour mark, running onto a deflected through ball from former Leeds teammate Lloyd Sam before sending a precisely placed chip over Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei to ice the result.
The 29-year-old attacker, who joined his hometown club in February 2015 following a successful trial, now has six goals in 15 MLS appearances from the wing this season after netting nine times in 33 games last term, and head coach Jesse Marsch was quick to hail his impact after their latest win.
“I don't want to take credit for Mike because I think Mike's just gotten himself going as the season's gone on and he's gotten sharper and sharper and more confident,” Marsch told newyorkredbulls.com.
“The thing with Mike is always getting the balance right of when to play simple and when to do special things, and clearly, when he gets that balance right, he's very difficult to deal with.
“And I thought the third one was going in, the one that went just wide. But right now, he's sharp; he's been really good. All of our attacking guys have been really sharp.”
Grella had previously been considering retiring before joining the Red Bulls after a disappointing five-year stint in Europe and brief spell with the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, but his resurgence over the last 18 months has been nothing of remarkable.
The Long Island native looks a good bet to make the MLS All-Star Game this summer and has even earned support for a first US national team call-up, and he puts much of his success down to the support he has received from Marsch.
“Yeah it's huge,” he told newyorkredbulls.com. “He's been responsible for a huge part of my success. Jesse and the whole entire coaching staff, the family, give me a lot of confidence to go out on the field and play the way.
“I feel comfortable, I feel free out on the field and I'm very happy.”
Sunday’s result marked the Red Bulls’ fifth straight shutout victory, including Wednesday night’s 1-0 US Open Cup win at the Rochester Rhinos, and lifts them up to second in MLS’ Eastern Conference on 22 points – just one behind the first-placed Philadelphia Union after 15 games.
The reigning Supporters’ Shield winners endured a torrid start to the 2016 campaign, losing six of their opening seven matches, but a superb run of form since late April has seen them take 19 points from their last eight fixtures to soar up the table.
Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters