Nick Cushing watches action during the first half. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

It could have been better but it could have been worse.

Nick Cushing’s debut as interim head coach of the New York City FC didn’t go as exactly planned or what he hoped for.

Despite enjoying a good deal of the play, the Cityzens were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

Cushing took over the coach reins after Ronny Deila accepted a position with Standard Liege in Belgium last Monday.

“It was a special day for me on many fronts,” Cushing said. “One to lead one of our teams again is an honor and to lead a team at Yankee Stadium, such an iconic stadium, is something I’ll always remember. Also to lead this group of players, they are the MLS champions and they are a great group of people. So, to go through the change that we went through this week and to lead them out today in a good performance was a good day for me.

“I said to the guys after the game, everyone of them has been exceptional this week. In the way they have applied themselves in a difficult moment, when you lose a coach mid-season but also towards myself in the support, work ethic, and application that they have shown this week to prepare for this game has been exceptional.

“Overall, disappointed we didn’t get three points but I am happy with the application and performance.”

Cushing said he just had “to be myself. I didn’t try to be Ronny and I also didn’t try to change the way the team plays because my beliefs are different. I‘ve been developed within the City Football Group and the way that I see football is the way that we see football. We just continued to prepare the team and make sure we prepared them for what they would face against Colorado.”

Talles Magno equalized for NYCFC on a pretty goal in the 72nd minute. Maxi Moralez sent in a pin-point cross from the right side that Magno trapped with his chest and volleyed past William Yarbrough from point-blank range for his third of the campaign.

Magno dedicated his goal to his grandmother.

“I love my grandma,” he said. “She was actually watching the game at home with my family. I told her before the game that I was going to score a goal for her today and I was actually able to do it. I ran to the camera and screamed ‘I love you, Grandma this is for you!’ So, I dedicate this goal to her.”

NYCFC (42 points), the Eastern Conference leaders, moved to 13-8-3 while the Rapids (5-6-4, 19) are still looking for their first road win (0-6-1) of the MLS season.

Colorado’s Michael Barrios struck in the 68th minute, latching onto a pass from Mark-Anthtony-Kaye and drilling a shot from the top of the box past a diving goalkeeper Sean Johnson to lift the visitors into a 1-0 lead.

That goal snapped Johnson’s shutout streak at 608 minutes.

“We gave an easy goal to be honest,” midfielder Alfredo Morales said. “We can defend better 100 percent.”

NYCFC forced the issue in the opening half, but Colorado proved a tough side to crack.

The hosts’ best opportunity in the opening half came in the 35th minute when Taty Castellanos cracked a seven-yard shot off the crossbar. The ball rebounded down, but not into the net.

 

 

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