North Carolina FC midfielder Steven Miller (31) and North Carolina FC defender DJ Taylor (27) battle with New York City FC midfielder Keaton Parks (55) and Justin Haak (80) for a header. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports).
QUEENS, N.Y. — New York City FC won its first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match, recording a 4-0 victory over North Carolina FC at Belson Stadium Wednesday night.
Keaton Parks, making his first start for the Major League Soccer club, scored twice in the second half while Jesus Medina added one goal and North Carolina’s Aaron Guillen was credited with an own goal before a crowd of 2,014 on the campus of St. John’s University.
“I’m really happy, especially because it is not easy for the fans,” NYCFC head coach Dome Torrent said. “It is important because we are stronger with them. I want to thank our supporters, it is not easy, because it is Wednesday 7 p.m. It is important for the club because they told me this is our first time moving onto the next round. I’m going to try to win the next game. If we’re lucky we’ll win the trophy.”
Torrent felt the team’s fine performances in league play helped bolster the younger lineup he deployed against North Carolina, which competes in the USL Championship.
“The team is in top form right now and when that happens it’s easier for the rest of the players to play. They have quality to play, I don’t have any doubt about that. It’s not a surprise for me that Keaton, and even Justin. When I decided to play with Justin, it’s not because I want to show our fans that we have a new player. It’s because he deserved to play…It’s not about Justin, Keaton played amazing and Danny.”
The first goal came in the 25th minute from a deflection off NCFC’s Aaron Guillén.
Two minutes into first-half stoppage time, Tony Rocha played the ball into the feet of Jesus Medina, who finished for his first goal of the season.
Torres and Parks went to work in the 52nd minute. Torres crossed the ball to Parks, who headed it into the back of the net for his first NYCFC goal.
Parks’ second goal came in the 76th minute. Valentin Castellanos broke through the NCFC defense and played the ball across the pitch to captain Maxi Moralez, who found Parks for a four-goal lead.
“It felt good to get a full 90 under me, and to get the win of course,” Parks said. “It felt good to get two goals. I’m just taking advantage of any opportunity that I get. Tonight, was a huge opportunity for me, and the team and we showed it.”
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver recorded the shutout.
“We work hard every day in training, and we have a lot of chemistry within the team,” Parks said. “We have a lot of good friendships in the locker room, so the chemistry is there. It’s just about giving us the opportunity. Sometimes it’s hard, but for the Cup tonight and the game, we did what we had to do.”