Maxi Moralez, the top playmaker in MLS with 16 assists, curled a service into the path of Taty Castellanos in first-half stoppage time. In a moment of serendipity, Castellanos’ delicate re-direct off the sole of his right foot found strike partner Héber, who buried his shot from close range to push City ahead, 2-1.
Héber and Castellanos both finished the match with a pair of goals and have now combined for 21 of the 45 finishes this season for New York City.
“All the time it’s about our scorers and right now they are both in top form,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said. “They both play really well because they have a special feeling to each other.”
According to both players, that distinct sensitivity has been fortified away from the soccer field.
“We are very good inside of the pitch and outside we are close friends,” Héber said. “We are always joking; we are always together. Sometimes we go to dinner and I think this relationship outside the pitch helps us on the pitch.”
“I’m very good friends with Heber and we get closer every day and we can feel that on the field,” Castellanos told Pro Soccer USA through a translator. “I just started living near him, too. When we’re training, when we’re eating, we’re always laughing.”
The 27-year old Héber said he and the 20-year old Castellanos will often discuss tactics when they are socializing away from the training facility.
“When we are together, we talk about football,” said Héber, who leads the team with 12 goals. “We talk about which position I like to play and him also and where he likes me to give the ball to him – and where I like it. I think this helps us.”
Héber assisted Castellanos on the Argentine’s victory strike in a 1-0 win versus Chicago on April 24 while Castellanos has assisted the last two goals by the Brazilian. And the winning finish in Cincinnati had a dance accompaniment.
“When we score goals we are going to dance,” said Castellanos, who ranks second for City with nine scores. “It makes us happy because we are very good friends.”
Their coach is delighted because their partnership is producing results.
“Right now when you have two players able to score it’s better to play with them, right?” Torrent said. “It’s simple like that. When you have two strikers who are in top form you have to play with them.”
Castellanos, who has generated four goals and two assists in the last three matches, is thriving alongside his amigo, Héber.
“He is an incredible kind of player,” Castellanos said. “And he is always so positive. Enjoying life.”