New York City FC is headed to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup competing against North Carolina FC at St John’s University on Wednesday night.
The US Open Cup is a great opportunity for the younger NYCFC players to get more time and experience playing at a high competitive level.
With the match fast approaching, all eyes are on players like Justin Haak, who made his MLS debut against FC Cincinnati, Keaton Parks, Daniel Bedoya, and Juan Pablo Torres, who could all get minutes for City in this matchup.
Parks, who is on loan to NYCFC from Benfica, has yet to start for the club, but he doesn’t let that deter him from giving his all in training and waiting for his opportunity to shine.
“I prepare every week like I’m going to play the game, just in case I have the opportunity to play,” Parks told reporters. “It can be difficult sometimes, it’s hard to keep your mind right, but me and JP, we have a lot of experience in professional soccer already at a young age so we’re kind of used to it. We work hard every day, it’s just when the opportunity comes.”
The young Texan was introduced as a substitute for his fifth appearance in a big win vs. FC Cincinnati last Thursday.
“I felt really good, I got on the ball a lot and I thought I was getting into the attack well,” Parks said. “I was involved a lot so I felt good and it felt good to get the win of course.”
Torres, another midfielder who could get the nod from Dome Torrent on Wednesday, signed with NYCFC in January from Belgian top flight club, KSC Lokeren.
“The Open Cup is a good opportunity for coach to rotate players and get the guys that haven’t played so much to get some minutes,” Torres said. "I think you have to go into it trying to work hard, play well, and really show yourselves that when the next MLS game comes around you can play.”
Similar to Parks, Torres takes every training day-by-day, patiently waiting for his opportunity to come around.
“You have to be really patient sometimes and train hard every week, but at the end of the day the coach is the one that makes the decisions. You have to respect his decisions and wait for your chance, but you just have to take it one week at a time and not put your head down. Never give up, I think that’s the point, never give up,” Torres told reporters.
“At the end of the day you have to step onto the field in whatever position the coach gives you and try to do your best, even if you have to play out of position,” Torres continued. “You have to go out there and it’s not an excuse, you have to perform because your team is counting on you.”
With the Open Cup on the horizon, the opportunity for these young players to start in City Blue is a possibility and they will be ready for it when it comes.
“I enjoy playing this game and I’m in a good position. Not a lot of kids have the opportunity to play soccer as a job so I really hold that to my heart. Everyday I step out on the field, I just use it as an opportunity to show myself,” Torres said. “I’m going to go out there on Wednesday to play well and to play to the best of my ability.”