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NYCFC rallies for three unanswered goals in thrilling win over Philadelphia Union

NYCFC extends an MLS-best unbeaten streak to 11 games by scoring three unanswered goals

BRONX, N.Y. — Taty Castellanos drew a pair of penalty kicks and struck for two second-half goals to lead New York City FC to a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium Saturday night.

NYCFC rallied from a one-goal deficit twice and scored three unanswered goals to extend an MLS-best unbeaten streak to 11 games, while the Union had their four-match unbeaten streak snapped.

“Especially today, it’s very important when you play with the top of our conference, we we were able to come back and [get the] result,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said. “It’s very important, even for the future it’s important for us because if you are able to come back in these kind of games, you’re able for the future to win another game when you are in trouble.”

Castellanos, filling in for the injured Heber, broke the 2-all deadlock in the 72nd minute, taking a pass from Moralez and putting a low first-time effort past Matt Freese.

The 20-year-old Argentine, who has been touted by Torrent for being in “top, top form,” scored his second goal seven minutes later on another well-worked goal, getting on the end of a second assist by Maxi Moralez and finished well.

“It’s really good that he’s speaking that way of me,” Castellanos said of Torrent. “I work really hard every single day to be ready and I think it’s really good that he’s thinking that of me. I’m just getting ready and I want to be helpful to the group.”

Castellanos drew both penalty kicks finished by Moralez, who also had a pair of assists.

The Union raced in front on seven minutes as Fafa Picault took a clipped in ball by Jamiro Monteiro off his chest and the his foot before spinning and firing low inside the far post.

Ten minutes later, Kacper Przybylko beat Brad Stuver to a ball behind the NYCFC defense, but he put his shot off the outside netting after rounding the goalkeeper.

One minute after that Anton Tinnerholm’s sure equalizer was cleared off the line by Jack Elliott, but NYCFC would draw even in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot after Castellanos was pulled down by Auston Trusty.

Moralez, who played the 50-yard ball to Castellanos to set up the PK, took the spot kick, scoring low to Freese’s left as the Union’s backup goalkeeper dived the other way.

“I would say the first one is a penalty,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “Jack misses the ball about 40 yards from goal and then it leads to a scramble, Auston makes a mistake. He doesn’t need to foul there because he does have enough cover. I think it’s a penalty.”

Jun 29, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (11) warms up before a game against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Union had their second lead of the first half on the half-hour mark on a well-worked goal starting with an Ilsinho cutback on Maxime Chanot by the touchline and playing back from the endline. Monteiro received the ball and played a backheel to Przybylko, who fired past Stuer with a well-struck side volley.

Moralez netted his second from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, again drawn by Castellanos, who was barreled over by Alejandro Bedoya. Freese guessed correctly, but Moralez powered his shot in off the goalkeeper’s hand.

Curtin disagreed with the call. 

“For me, Castellanos was good at embellishing a little bit and making it look worse than it was,” Curtin said. “On that play, he doesn’t even see Ale coming and in my mind, as simple as I can put it, Ale is entitled to that ball as much as Castellanos is. He puts his body in between the two and wins the ball. It looks like hard contact, but this is a contact game, so I think the ref got that one wrong.”

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