Thiago Martins: “We know defending is the most important. We need to keep the whole team together and defend together.” (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

New York City FC’s objective against the Chicago Fire on Sunday evening is quite simple:

Don’t give up many, if any goals at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. in the 6 p.m. contest.

The Cityzens have conceded three goals in their last three matches.

Not surprisingly, all three results have been 3-2 defeats.

“We know defending is the most important. We need to keep the whole team together and defend together,” defender Thiago Martins said. “We need to [bring back] the intensity, the run together and support each other inside the pitch. I think it’s [about] working hard. We talk about it [between us] and we try, and we do our best to help each other inside the pitch and return to [our winning ways].”

NYCFC (12-7-6, 42 points), which sits in third place in the MLS Eastern Conference, has been hit by blunders and injuries on the backline.

Maxime Chanot’s giveaway deep in the defensive zone in the loss to Charlotte FC on Wednesday night is a prime example.

Of course, City needs healthy bodies to fill out the backline. Center back Alex Callens, regarded as the best defender, is out with a lower body injury. Midfielder Alfredo Morales, who had an error leading to a goal during the three-game losing streak, also has been sidelined with a similar injury. Midfielder Maxi Moralez is questionable with – you guessed it – a lower body ailment.

NYCFC did specify the exact nature of the injuries.

“This is the biggest problem; every time we change, it is different,” Martins said. The boss says we need to keep the instructions [given to us] and work together. We need to improve this because you know, injuries happen, and we need to adjust and play together.”

Interim head coach Nick Cushing sounded like a cliche machine talking about the 12th-place Fire (8-11-6, 30), which trails City by 12 points.

Entering the weekend, Chicago was tied for the lowest goal production in the conference.

“They are a really organized team,” Cushing said. “They have done a really good job of improving their defensive organization and how together they are in moments in the game. They keep the opposition out, which gives them the opportunity to win and create chances to win. When you have guys like Xherdan Shaqiri and a good defensive unit, it is a good base to let those guys go and take the game. So, they will be a dangerous team for sure.”