Luquinhas, celebrating his goal on Saturday night, says that he “has to be very very focused for games like this (Hudson River Derby.” (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Whether it has been in his native Brazil or Poland, Luquinhas has played in his share of derby matches.

So, he realizes how the importance of Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup confrontation with New York City FC is. The winner of the 8 p.m. Hudson River Derby match at Red Bull Arena will advance to the semifinals while the loser will have to wait until next year.

“I have played big games like this back in Poland and I know I understand that I have to be very very focused for games like this,” the Brazilian midfielder said after scoring a wonder goal in the Red Bulls’ 2-0 home win over Toronto FC on Saturday night. “We understand how much this game means to everyone, so we as a team are focusing a lot and we’re hoping to become a winner this week.”

NYCFC enters the match in first place in the MLS Eastern Conference, playing well over the past two months.

“We’ve spoken about NYCFC,” Luquinhas said. “Everyone [knows] how good of a team they are, how great of a team they are. There is going to be a lot of quality in the other team as well. But, we’re ready for this game and hoping that we come out as winners next week.”

Talking about the game? Well, midfielder Lewis Morgan, who also tallied against Toronto, had another view of the upcoming match.

“I don’t think there’s been any discussion about it at the moment to be honest,” he said. “Obviously, we’re reflecting on that winning performance tonight. No one has mentioned the cup game. We knew that you had to take care of business tonight.

“We’ll regenerate and then start next week. We’ll get back to it. We’ll come up with a game plan that we want to go and execute.”


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