NYCFC 5-2 Red Bulls - Match Recap
Head Coach Ronny Deila named an unchanged lineup as the Boys in Blue went out for a third-successive win after handing out defeats to Montreal and Toronto FC.
Aiming to extend a proud run of four wins and one draw in the last five meetings with Red Bulls in the Bronx, NYCFC were also out to avenge their controversial defeat at Red Bull Arena earlier in the year and keep up the race for a top four spot.
Columbus and Orlando currently held the cards for one of those remaining berths which would secure home field advantage for the Playoffs, but City weren't in the mood to leave anything to chance in doing their part, making a lightning start.
Coming off the back of a period of early pressure for Deila's charges, NYCFC took the lead on 11' when the South American connection went into full effect.
Jesús Medina played the ball out to the left flank where Maxi Moralez waited, curling his cross perfectly onto the head of Castellanos who flew through the rain and fired a bullet header past Ryan Meara to make it 1-0.
Despite the home team's dominance, Red Bulls turned the result around with two goals on 18' and 38'. Brian White netted the first from range with a strike which picked up pace off the slick surface, before Cristian Cásseres Jr. hit a shot which deflected up off Maxime Chanot and sent Sean Johnson the wrong way.
However, you couldn't keep New York down for long as an excellent sweeping move leveled the match once more as Castellanos found Mackay-Steven who raced onto the through ball behind the Red Bulls defense and clipped past the onrushing Meara to send the teams back into the locker rooms tied up 2-2.
Despite their parity, Ronny will have been pleased to have seen the domination of his team in the first half and the team started to receive the rewards for the collective performance after halftime.
Alex Ring opened up the floodgates on 51' when he rattled in a goal of the season contender: a 25 yard curling thunderbolt which struck the underside of the crossbar and put City back in charge.
Two became three on 76' when Castellanos wrapped up the points with a brilliant top corner volley from just inside the area, before the Argentine striker did it again, netting from the penalty spot to make it 5-2 for his first-ever NYCFC hat-trick.
That completed the scoring in an emphatic victory for the City boys, sending them to Chicago for Decision Day next weekend on a high.