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Tajouri-Shradi, NYCFC newcomer, draws praise after two-goal game

Keeper Sean Johnson believes the 23-year-old forward is ‘just scratching the surface’ of his potential.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi has scored three goals on three

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi has scored three goals on three shots in his first season with NYCFC. Photo Credit: NYCFC.com

The days of New York City FC holding its breath every time star David Villa needs a break may be over. Credit Ismael Tajouri-Shradi for that.

The 23-year-old offseason addition has three shots this season and three goals to show for them. He’s been a driving force behind an undefeated 3-0-1 start for NYCFC that has them soaring, despite early injuries to Villa and midfielder Alexander Ring.

NYCFC heads to San Jose to face the Earthquakes on Saturday for a match before the international break. It’s a chance for Tajouri-Shradi to show fans he’s for real and put worries aside for good.

“I think we’re just scratching the surface of what he has, his potential as a player,” keeper Sean Johnson told reporters after a 2-2 draw in New England last Saturday. “We need different guys to step up. It’s a long season, and he’s been a really important part of why we are where we are right now.”

Against the Revolution, Tajouri-Shradi helped NYCFC equalize when down, 1-0, in the 51st minute and again when trailing, 2-1, in the 75th minute. He has quick midfield passing to thank for the opportunities, but he’s also created space and found his moments.

Born in Switzerland, Tajouri-Shradi has played internationally for Libya’s Under-20 team and had spent his club career at Austria Wien. He had a smattering of goals and appeared in the Europa League. Still, he was hardly the most heralded signing for the Blues over the winter.

That can work to the forward’s advantage, especially when he unleashes a shot like his second goal from last week. He received the ball at the top of the box and rocketed into the net despite two defenders chasing him. With that kind of power, he can take the pressure off those around him and define a starting role for himself even when Villa returns.

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