Cavani to NYCFC?! Meet the City youngster who turned heads in Mexico

Justin Haak - NYCFC - preseason template - clapping to San Luis fans in Mexico

New York City FC lost their preseason friendly vs. Mexican side Atletico San Luis on Tuesday night, but the 3-0 scoreline could turn out to be a forgotten footnote compared to Justin Haak’s night.

A NYCFC academy prospect invited to join the senior squad as they prep for the 2018 campaign, Haak came off the bench in the second half and turned heads in more ways than one.

February 14, 2018

Let’s start with the most obvious, and most amusing: The 16-year-old’s lanky build and dark, flowing locks had the fans in attendance at Estadio Alfonso Lastras chanting in reference to his close resemblance to Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, one of Paris Saint-Germain’s world-famous superstars.

But then the teenager kept their attention by showing that he can ball a little bit, too. In contrast to Cavani, Haak usually plays a holding midfielder role, but in the game’s final stages he surged forward with the ball at his feet, leading an NYCFC counterattack and cheekily nutmegging a backtracking San Luis defender before passing to one of his teammates.

It earned Haak a standing ovation and his overall performance drew some warm praise from’s Mark Booth, who compared his display to a similar outing from James Sands on the club’s preseason trip to Ecuador a year ago, which presaged Sands signing as City’s first-ever Homegrown Player a few months later.

Haak, who anchored the midfield for the NYCFC academy side that won the second tier of the Generation adidas Cup last year alongside other promising youngsters like Gio Reyna, is keeping busy this winter, as he jetted to Atlanta on Wednesday to rejoin his U-17 academy teammates for GA Cup action.