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Mike Grella Channels His Inner Lionel Messi

The New York native suddenly has the touch and skill of a well-known diminutive Argentine...

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

During New York's ill-fated match with the Philadelphia Union, Mike Grella pulled out some skills for the highlight reels in the first half. Mike Grella should have the starting spot on the left wing for a long time if he keeps doing things like this.

First, he did well to take down and control a long aerial ball from Felipe. Grella then pulled off a neat turn to create space between him and Union defender Ethan White.

At the end line, Messi Grella slid past White with a slick touch. Just as ex-Metro Sebastian Le Toux approached to cut out the attack, the Red Bull attacker conjured a perfectly executed heel-to-heel trick and glided between both of the incoming Union players.

Although it ended in a blocked shot by Kljestan, it was a sublime showing of skill from the former Glen Cove native. Messi-esque? You decide:

Grella is making the highlight reel a bit of a habit: his goal against Columbus will surely feature prominently in recaps of RBNY's 2015 season.

Since he provided one of the few bright spots of the Red Bulls' first home loss of the season, he's got a little deserved praise from his head coach. In comments to's Eric Giacometti, Jesse Marsch described the elements of Grella's game he admires:

Mike’s work ethic, his ability to play at the pace that we want to play at and his sharpness in tight spaces...

And Grella admits to enjoying making the ball dance:

Occasionally I can do some pretty cool things.

Yes, you can. More please, Mike.