With his brace in NYCFC's 3-1 win over Inter Miami on Saturday, Taty Castellanos has risen to the top of the MLS Golden Boot race - right where he should be.
For too long this season, the Argentine striker has topped the Expected Goals (xG) charts, only to be buried down below a host of other players in the actual scoring table. No player in the league has missed more 'Big Chances' than his 21.
But Castellanos is an immensely talented player, full of pace and skill with a work rate that is second to none - his six caps for the Argentina Under-23 side reflect as much.
"There were games that if I wasn’t scoring goals, I was important to the team by making assists or helping the team out by creating spaces and we have won a lot of games. But the number nine lives by scoring goals," Castellanos said following a recent 6-0 win over DC United, in which he grabbed a brace.
In his next two appearances, Castellanos' quality has continued to come to the fore, with the 23-year-old notching another three goals and an assist. NYCFC have now won three consecutive games, sealing their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs for a sixth straight year. Individually, he now has 18 goals - and eight assists - leaving him one clear of Ola Kamara in the chase for the Golden Boot.
"He has grown throughout the season. He’s maybe the best striker in the league," declared NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila after Saturday's win.
Castellanos will be keen to continue this hot-streak not only to bring home the much-coveted Golden Boot, but also to prime himself for the MLS Cup Playoffs. In four post-season appearances for NYCFC to date, the striker is yet to find the back of the net or assist a goal.
But in this sort of form, you'd back Castellanos to overcome that hump. If he does, NYCFC will be one of the most dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference once again this winter.