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Matt Miazga helping put Red Bulls soccer on the map with goals, celebrations

The defender uses his flair to entertain soccer fans in the expanding MLS.

Miazga isn't a frequent goal-scorer, so his strike this weekend was a rare treat.Getty Images

In reality, Matt Miazga scored the third and final goal in the New York Red Bulls 3-1 dismantling of New York City F.C. on Sunday afternoon. But in every sense of the word, the young Red Bulls defender hit a home run with his goal celebration.

Miazga gave the Red Bulls a decisive two-goal cushion in the 73rdminute with his well-taken goal capping off a dominant second half for his team. The Red Bulls struggled for the opening 20 minutes of the first half, looking out of place at Yankee Stadium and the unusual configuration that includes grass rolled out over part of the baseball infield.

The stadium has exposed New York City F.C. -- an MLS expansion club -- to a fair amount of ridicule this year as MLS moves away from franchises sharing venues with other sports and into soccer-specific stadiums. The league couldn't ignore the money that the joint ownership of the New York Yankees and English Premier League team Manchester City brought to the table and so they went with an expansion team that lacked a proper home.

So when Miazga scored the third goal for his team, he ran to the sidelines and took his batter's stance. Then he swung at an imaginary pitch to mimic a home run.

“I just did it to be funny and for our fans, so they'd get a good laugh about it,” Miazga told Metro. “To see the buzz on social media is pretty cool. It is what it is. But I'm really happy we got the three points.”

Going, going, gone.

On Friday, Red Bulls midfielder Felipe Martins came up with the idea for the celebration and shared his vision for the moment with the team during training. The original concept was supposed to involve a player stopping to throw a faux pitch at the goal scorer, who would then swing and crush the imaginary ball into the stands.

In actuality, none of Miazga's teammates heard him yelling to ask for a pitch so he tossed up an imaginary ball to himself and then aimed for the Red Bulls supporters, who dominated large parts of the upper deck.

Miazga said he never played baseball growing up and just “played wiffle ball when I was like, four [years old].” He just never played baseball and said that he's gotten a few jokes about his swing.

“I think I hit a grounder,” Miazga said of his batting stance on Sunday.

“I guess it was a home run. It was a good feeling, a fun celebration. But the most important thing was to get the win, to be moving the right direction in the league.”

 

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