Keaton Parks is embracing the pressure of Saturday's Hudson River Derby.
The Boys in Blue are preparing for a meeting with Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, with both teams needing three points to boost their playoff hopes.
And while a meeting with Red Bulls can often bring an intensity and pressure, Parks is embracing that opportunity. The team could move to just a point behind the playoff line with a win on Saturday, and that opportunity is one that excites the group.
"When you relate it to the outside world and what we're able to do everyday and this job that we get to enjoy, it's not real pressure," Parks said.
"This pressure that is absolutely a privilege that's been given to us through our hard work and talent and and just being blessed with this ability.
"This pressure is not a real pressure that most people get to experience so it's absolutely a privilege and we use that to motivate us but we also have to enjoy the moment and get the most out of it."
The midfielder has been a part of the Club since 2019 and that has afforded him the opportunity to play in a number of Hudson River Derbies. With the squad boasting several new faces, Parks confirmed he is keen to lean on his own experience and take greater responsibility heading into Saturday's game.
"Being here for five years now, for me it's the same - these are the most important games," Parks said.
"Every game is important but I'm going into every derby with one intention and that's to win the game. I think there's a little bit more energy in the team and in the locker room, and we all want to get that win.
"Having the fans behind us is a huge thing and we know what they want. That's why we're on the field every weekend. We go into this game with a lot of energy, a lot of intent and we want to win.
"We feel the pressure a little bit but it's normal. We are in a spot where we need these wins. We need to get above the line and we want to make playoffs. We know we're not out right now and nobody's hanging their head nobody's down. We just know what we have to do and what is needed to make that run now.
"I think the energy is good. The atmosphere is good - as it has been all year - we've always been fighting. Obviously we've had lot of low moments this year but I think the chemistry and the bond that we have within the team is strong."
He went on to add, "We have a lot of young guys. a lot of guys who maybe played in one this year or maybe not even any yet so it's my responsibility as well as other guys to to show them how important these games are to the team, the organization as well as the fans and the city.
"We we have that responsibility to make sure everybody shows up at a different level for these games because this isn't a game we can lose."
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