With the game ahead and the crazy schedule that the club has had lately, there is an opportunity for some younger players to get a chance at some minutes. Our staff discusses who they’d like to see get minutes tonight.
Nathan Hill - Paxton Pomykal
Injuries have derailed the start of this season for Paxton, and it’s time he begins his climb. I think expectations should be still fairly low for him, but this US Open Cup is about him getting minutes, combining with other players, and gaining experience for the road ahead. Most fans are ready to see him begin that ascent into greatness, but the work begins in this tournament.
Jose Carmona - Brandon Servania
I know Paxton will be the popular choice, but Servania is one injury away (to any of our midfielders) from seeing serious minutes with the senior team. The change in formation for FCD was facilitated by the glut of talented midfielders. Servania has a chance to show that he can hold his own against MLS competition (should FCD advance), and be next in line should anything happen to Acosta, Hayes, Ulloa, or Gruezo (Injury, transfer). I think that he can, and the USOC is Brandon's chance to impress.
Ben Lyon - Tesho Akindele
It hasn’t been ‘Tesho Time’ around these parts in quite a while. Tesho has only logged 23 minutes in league play this year and has even missed the game day roster several times now (and that hadn’t happened via coach’s decision in a long time). Some of that is down to the form of other players and the acquisition of Santi Mosquera, but one wonders if Tesho’s time in Frisco is running out. Whether it be to force his way back into the rotation or to stoke the interest of attack starved teams in the secondary window, Tesho needs to show up in this tournament, or he’ll probably end up in USL next year. Given the restriction on foreign players (5 max on the gameday roster), Tesho will probably get his chances. No other player should feel that urgency more than he.
Jason Poon - Tesho Akindele
I’m with Ben here. This is probably a critical moment for Tesho, given his limited minutes this year. Tesho’s been a trusted force for Oscar Pareja in recent years, but not even making the bench a few times has been an eye opener. Akindele needs a good showing here, especially with Mosquera already leaping him on the depth chart, and with Ema Twumasi and Francis Atuahene waiting in the wings. Then there’s Barrios who’s been less than stellar and Akindele can make a surge to take Barrios’ minutes with a very strong Open Cup performance.
Drew Epperley - Jordan Cano
With the defense having some players in and out, Cano is one guy that I’m looking forward to seeing more out there. This is a game that he could get some momentum for him to not just make the bench more often but to also see some minutes in some MLS games this summer.
Jeff Loftin - Servania
He needs minutes and frankly if he performs and does quite well then we are able to offload another midfielder ahead of him in the coming weeks. We need more of the young guys to 1) get opportunities and 2) make the most of said opportunities.