NEW YORK — Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was a newcomer extraordinaire in 2018.
The New York City FC forward registered 12 goals in all competitions, second only to David Villa’s 15-goal production. Tajouri-Shradi provided quality execution with four game-winning scores and a pair of late equalizers among his dozen tallies. His compositions were efficient – he had a mere 17 shots on frame and 36 shots overall.
“We would like to see him take more shots,” head coach Dome Torrent said in a preseason interview.
But curiously, Tajouri-Shradi has not been a factor through the first two matches of 2019. He was on the bench and did not play in the opener at Orlando City, while logging 21 minutes in a reserve role during a scoreless draw against D.C. United.
Torrent told Pro Soccer USA he has clear criteria when evaluating Tajouri-Shradi and his players.
“Last year was last year,” Torrent said in regard to the 24-year old Tajouri-Shradi. “I choose for three things: performance in training sessions, opponent and mentality. And I spoke with him about that. My job is to recover this player because he is an important player for us. I know that, he knows that, everybody knows that.”
Alexandru Mitriță, Valentin Castellanos and Jesus Medina were the starting forwards in Sunday’s home opener versus D.C. United, while Jonathan Lewis was in the XI ahead of Tajouri-Shradi a week earlier against the Lions.
“When I saw the training session in the preseason and the performance, its about that – it’s not about last year,” Torrent said. “That’s for Ismael and the other players, also. I try to be fair with my players. When I decide, I choose my 11 about these three things, it’s true – its about that. It’s not because your name is Ismael or your name is Maxi. No, it’s not about that.”
We will discover whether Tajouri-Shradi has met Torrent’s criteria for Sunday’s match when the lineup is unveiled one hour before the 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff at Yankee Stadium against LAFC.