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NYCFC’s first Desert Diamond Cup game is looming into view and Shannon Gomez believes that it will be a friendly with a little added heat.

Any game between the two local rivals will inevitably draw more attention from fans of both teams than your average preseason encounter.

However, Shannon still believes that ultimately this match will just be a case of finding out where the team are at as we build up to 2017.

Gomez told NYCFC.com: “I think for me it’s going to be a game I want to play in but I’d be happy to play against any other team on the field at this stage.

“I think playing Red Bulls is always going to be a heated match in certain aspects of the game but in terms of what we can take away from the game it’s just going to be excellent for us to test ourselves.

“We’ve just arrived in Tucson so we’re just getting the legs going, getting the blood flowing and getting some games in. The intensity is really high in training at the moment and the boys are clearly raring to go.

“I think the first half of preseason was excellent – we tried to carry out the coaches’ instructions and carry out their plans and we tried to implement what we’re trying to do in the sessions in the games, executing on our plans.

“Everybody complied to it and it’s a great sign going into the start of the season. It’s always vital to get off on the right foot in preseason and I think that’s happening, It’s just about sharpening up and getting some more games in while we’re here.”

Shannon featured in his second preseason game against SC Emelec in Ecuador last Wednesday and now he’s eager for more opportunities to impress with competition for places high in Head Coach Patrick Vieira’s team.

A player who endured a cruel 2016 season due to injuries, now the Trinidadian is firmly focused on looking ahead rather than peering into the rear view mirror.

“Ecuador was excellent – great fans, great atmosphere and a match against an excellent team,” Shannon said.

“The whole experience of it was something special for us and great exposure for our club. To experience the speed of the opposition and the physicality for our young team, it was a plus for us and going into a new season you can take some positives from that.

“I’m feeling really good – it was always part of the mind to keep yourself going, staying focused every day and not worrying about injuries or anything like that.

“I’m just trying to do the right things – to be myself on the field day in and day out.”