Ismael Tajouri celebrates one of his two goals against New England. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Sean Johnson thinks we haven’t seen anything yet from Ismael Tajouri.
Now, that’s a strong statement considering the forward has three goals in his first two starts for New York City FC, including both in its 2-2 draw at the New England Revolution Saturday.
“Unbelievable talent, unbelievable talent,” the NYCFC goalkeeper said. “I think we’re just scratching the surface of what he has, his potential as a player.”
Tajouri, a Swiss citizen and the son of Libyan parents, replaced the team’s all-time scoring leader David Villa (calf injury) for the second consecutive weekend and could not have done any better.
“He works really hard every single day,” Johnson said. “All of the guys notice that and it shows when he goes out on the field and he’s producing at the moment, which is huge for us. We need different guys to step up, it’s a long season and he’s been a really important part of why we are where we are right now.”
City could not have asked for anything more from Tajouri in his first two starts. Last week he tallied in the 2-0 home win over Orlando City SC.
“For me, it has been good,” he said. “I am very happy to net three goals, but I have to keep going. I am very happy with the team here and it was important for us to get this point.”
Perhaps Tajouri’s hot start might allow head coach Patrick Vieira to rest Villa another week, just to be sure his star striker is healthy.
Tajouri, who turns 24 on March 28, took his chances well at Foxborough Stadium Saturday — scoring in the 51st and 75th minutes — to pull the visitors even both times.
“For the most part, for the first half, I think we had him in wraps,” Revs defender Andrew Farrell said.
Until the second half, as NYCFC came back from not one, but two one-goal deficits on the road. Certainly no mean feat.
“We know that in New England, it will be a very hard game,” Tajouri said. “All week we knew that. It was a very hard game, but important for us to take a point home.
“You can see we have a big mentality. It is not easy to come back and win in New England. We knew that before, but we were able to come back twice. It is very big-time for us to do that. It shows how good we are, and now can focus on the next game.”