Keaton Parks and Juan Pablo Torres room together on the road and live together at home. Likewise, they have encountered parallel paths since arriving at New York City FC.
When Torres bent a precise cross to the head of Parks seven minutes into the second half of their U.S. Open Cup match against North Carolina FC, both wondered if it would be a moment to cherish.
“I would have given him stick for sure if he would have missed that sitter because that would have been my first assist,” Torres joked after his club debut in the 4-0 win at St. John’s University.
“For sure I would have heard about it every day for at least a week if I missed,” Parks said.
The 21-year old Parks, with a total of 55 minutes logged in City’s 14 regular matches, drifted to the back side of the NCFC defense and nodded the service into an open goal to give the Pigeons an insurmountable 3-0 advantage.
It was Parks first career goal for City while Torres registered his initial assist in a New York City kit.
“I was joking with him a little bit when we were celebrating saying, “your welcome” for his first goal,” Torres said. “He’s an easy guy to hit. He’s a tall guy so I just cross the ball into the box.”
Torres said his margin of error to locate the 6-3 Parks was substantial.
“Yeah, exactly,” the 19-year old said. “He’s so tall you really can’t miss that.”
Torres drove into massive space on the right before his delivery to Parks – playing fullback competitively for the first time at any level with Ben Sweat and Joe Scally injured.
“I knew from the start I was going to play that position coming into the game,” Torres said. “I’ve been training there for two weeks so just tried to use what I learned in training and some of the guys helped me out. It was definitely new but I didn’t necessarily feel uncomfortable.”
New York City will travel to the nation’s capital for the Round of 16 to face D.C. United and the comrades are hopeful they will be afforded another 90-minute shift.
“It’s always good to play 90 and get more in shape,” said Parks who completed a brace with a close-range finish assisted by Maxi Moralez in the 75th minute. “Next week, hopefully we play again and get a full 90 and win that game. And if we get an opportunity in the league we’ll have to take advantage of that. It’s up to Dome (Torrent).”
The NYCFC manager made no promises following the dominant triumph.
“They deserve to play but the other players deserve to play as well, Torrent said. “Maybe I can play with a mix with two or three players who played today because Heber, Mitri (Alexandru Mitriță), and Ismael (Tajouri-Shradi) were on the bench and maybe they play the next game. I say many times, it’s about my feeling the week before the game.”