New York City FC’s Alfredo Morales is delighted that Valentin Castellanos is back among the goals after the striker scored four times in last week’s rout of Real Salt Lake.

Castellanos starred as the reigning MLS Cup champions put a poor start to the season behind them in a 6-0 home win.

Ronny Deila’s team now welcome in-form Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium. The Canadian team have won three of their last four games, with the other fixture in that run finishing as a draw.

But with Castellanos back on the goal trail, Morales thinks his team-mate can target a second successive Golden Boot.

“I’m very happy for him. He works so hard every single day. You have to appreciate a striker like this,” midfielder Alfredo Morales said.

“He gives everything, his pressure is essential for us, especially with Maxi (Moralez) or Santi (Rodriguez), whoever plays the No. 10. To score four goals, I think is not bad. He has four goals now and I think he has to go for the Golden Boot again.”

Last year was hugely disappointing for Toronto, but their form this season has been promising, and Bob Bradley was thrilled with their efforts in a 2-1 comeback win over the Philadelphia Union last time out.

“That to me is the important step tonight,” Bradley said. “I think there’s a belief that if we go on the field, push for 90 minutes, play the way that we can, that even if we go down a goal, it’s not going to stop us from finding ways to still win.

“There’s still so much work.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

NYCFC – Thiago

While Castellanos stole the show, Thiago chipped in with two goals against RSL, converting two of his four attempts, three of which were on target.

Toronto – Alejandro Pozuelo

Alejandro Pozuelo scored the winning goal in Toronto’s 2-1 victory over the Union on Saturday. The Reds have won 15 of the 22 matches in which Pozuelo has scored (D5, L2, including playoffs) in his MLS career.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Toronto are unbeaten against the reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC over the last two seasons (W1 D2), including a 2-1 home win on April 2.

– Toronto have lost only two of its 10 away matches against NYCFC (W3 D5, including playoffs), including going unbeaten in its last four visits (W2 D2).

– NYCFC sealed the largest margin of victory in the club’s MLS history with the 6-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday. NYCFC have scored 10 goals in its two wins this season but just one goal in its other four matches in league play in 2022 (D1 L3).

– Toronto earned their third win of the season, defeating the Union, 2-1, on Saturday. The Reds have 11 points through seven matches this season, one more than they had after 14 matches in 2021.

– Castellanos became the first player in New York City FC’s MLS history to score four goals in a match. Castellanos has scored 26 goals since the start of last season, more than any other player in the league in that time (including playoffs).