NYCFC rides Mitrita 1st half hat trick to cusp of East’s No. 1 seed

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Alexandru Mitrita has heated up in a big way at the right time.

New York City’s Romanian winger scored three goals in the first 34 minutes of play of a massive match against Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

NYC rode those goals to a 4-1 win, with a Pity Martinez penalty the only concession and a Heber marker in the 87th minute the finishing touch.

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That gives him six goals and two assists in his last six matches. Pretty good stuff as NYCFC is on the verge of clinching the No. 1 spot in the East, which could happen as soon as Philadelphia’s trip to San Jose for a 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

Maxi Moralez assisted Mitrita’s second goal, and became just the third player in MLS history to register 20 assists in a season (Carlos Valderrama and Sacha Kljestan).

Atlanta can no longer catch NYC, and the Philadelphia Union are nine points back with three matches to play. City has two, has 12 goals better differential, and travels to Chester to face the Union on Decision Day.

The Heber goal was stupid, as he tackled Leandro Gonzalez Pirez before putting Brad Guzan on a Slip ‘N Slide.