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New York City FC looks for first U.S. Open Cup win against North Carolina FC

New York City midfielder Keaton Parks will likely earn his first start for the Pigeons in the U.S. Open Cup (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has not been kind to the New York City Football Club.

Beginning with the club’s expansion season in 2015, the Pigeons have failed to win a match or advance past the fourth round of the tournament – the starting point for all Major League Soccer teams.

NYCFC will attempt to salve its Cup wounds June 12 when it hosts USL Championship side North Carolina FC at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University.

The NYCFC Academy teams train at St. John’s and plays home matches on the artificial surface at Belson – a soccer-specific stadium with a capacity of 2,168.

A pair of New York City clubs met in the inaugural U.S. Open Cup title match when the Brooklyn Field Club defeated Brooklyn Celtic 2-1 in 1914 in front of 10,000 supporters at Coates Field in Pawtucket, R.I.

NYCFC will attempt to be the 26th team from the five boroughs to win the cup, but history suggests otherwise.

In 2015, the eventual NASL Champion New York Cosmos, under current Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese, advanced past NYCFC on penalties after Kwadwo Poku’s brace gave City a 2-0 advantage in the second half.

Savarese’s squad eliminated the Bronx boys a year later as well, 1-0, while the New York Red Bulls outscored New York City in the last two years at Red Bull Arena. Daniel Royer scored in a 1-0 win in 2017 and last year, Royer’s two goals contributed to a 4-0 thrashing in Harrison, N.J.

New York City head coach Dome Torrent now has the opportunity to use the players who have seen limited or no minutes with the first team in 2019 – a commendable group according to the second year coach.

“Right now, everybody deserves for their performance to play, but I am so sorry – soccer is about 11 players,” Torrent said after the recent 2-0 road win over the L.A. Galaxy. “I would like to play with 20 players because all of them deserve to play.”

Taty Castellanos (442 minutes), Jesus Medina (311 minutes), Keaton Parks (28 minutes) Juan Pablo Torres (no appearances) and Sebastien Ibeagha (217 minutes) are the players who are apt to earn spots in the starting XI against North Carolina FC along with back-up goalkeeper, Brad Stuver (no appearances).

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