Arriving before the 2018 season, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi quickly became an invaluable piece to New York City FC’s success. In his debut season, the winger scored 11 goals and 3 assists in 27 total appearances. Since then, however, Isi has mostly been a tool for NYCFC late in games when they need energy off of the bench. In 2019, Tajouri-Shradi made 19 appearances with just over half of them being starts. 2020 wasn’t much different with him making only 9 appearances, only 4 of them being starts.
The title “super sub” immediately comes to mind. But don’t tell that to Ismael. The Libyan spoke after his game-winning goal against Atlanta United in City’s 2-1 win and stressed his dislike for the term.
“I always say I want to play every game from the beginning,” Tajorui-Shradi said Wednesday night. “I’m not happy to be on the bench... I think any player is not happy to be on the bench. I do my best every session to show the coaching staff and everyone that I’m a starting player. And that’s what I do now and I’m gonna do that always.”
After scoring the short-live equalizer for NYCFC off the bench against the New England Revolution last Saturday, Tajouri-Shradi looked right at the bench and let out an emphatic celebration. When asked about it, ITS confirmed that he was trying to send a message to the staff.
“I mean, yeah... I’ve come in scoring goals; starting XI, I’m scoring goals. I always say ‘I’m not happy.’ I’m not happy at all, everyone knows that when I’m on the bench, I’m not happy at all and whenever I come in, whenever I’m given a chance, I try to show everyone that I’m ready for the Starting XI. I thought I did it [against] New England. It was an important goal for me. And for the celebration, yeah, it is what it is.”
If Tajouri-Shradi wishes to start more games, he has some stiff competition. The club has brought in many new faces over the past few months in Thiago Andrade, Talles Magno, and Santi Rodriguez, all of them attacking options. And it’s obvious that Ronny Deila has an affinity for Jesus Medina.
Will he get his wish? We’ll have to see.