Hudson River Blue spoke with New York City FC striker Taty Castellanos for an exclusive interview at the Etihad City Football Academy training facility in Rockland County, NY where members of the Senior Team were preparing for Saturday’s match against Northeast Conference rivals Toronto FC.
Note: This interview was edited for clarity. Translation courtesy of Roberto Abramowitz.
Hudson River Blue: This has been a slow start to the MLS season in terms of scoring—last year after four games you had already scored four times. But last year you were coming into the season as a forward, and this year you’re coming in as the Golden Boot winner. Are other teams playing you differently?
Taty Castellanos: Yes. Obviously, they’re marking me, and they’re playing the whole team differently because we’re the champions. It’s been harder. They’re defending us in a different way, but I’m calm. We also have to play in the CONCACAF Champions League. I’m not going crazy in MLS, but the goals will come.
HRB: Last year, you played on the left and make runs into the center. Jesús Medina was on the right, and he would pull defenders towards him. This year, you have Talles Magno on the left and you’re moving a little more into the center. Has this been a big adjustment?
TC: We know the players are different. Medina and Talles are both good players, Talles has more quality and he knows how to go into the penalty box and for us that’s fundamental. Ronny is asking me to stay more in the middle, and that opens up more spaces for Talles and for Santi.
Obviously I have to adapt to that. This year Santi and Talles are going to be getting a lot more minutes, and it’s going to be a very, very good year for them. I have to adapt and get used to it.
HRB: Do you have any superstitions about how to get back into a scoring mindset?
TC: No. It’s work: I’m fine, I’m calm. I’m good.
I haven’t scored in MLS but I have a little confidence because of all the goals in the games that we had in the Champions League. And there have been a lot of games one after another, and you get tired. So then we just have to get prepared for Toronto, and then Seattle.
HRB: How much of it is practice and homework? And how much of it is chemistry, and how you’re playing with your teammates?
TC: We’re prepared, and we prepare for everything. We always work out on the practice field what we use on the field.