Nick Cushing watches helplessly from the sidelines at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

Given the way New York City FC has been underachieving in recent games, interim head coach Nick Cushing might not be a permanent one with the club next season.

He understands that.

“As the head coach it will be on me, and is on me from day one,” Cushing said. “In these difficult moments it is my job to look at myself and see where I can contribute and where I can fix this problem, but also my job is to pick the guys up. As I said before, I’ve come out of a locker room where I see a group of guys and a team that is together on-and-off the pitch. That is the coaching staff, the team and the office staff.

“We are in a really difficult moment, but I think it’s about consistently continuing to work hard, evaluate and reflect. We will do that.”

The result dropped NYCFC from third to fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference as the team and archrival Red Bulls, 1-0 winners in Montreal, switched places.

Still, Cushing sounded like a permanent head coach when talking about D.C., on how tough the visitors were, even though they have the worst record (7-17-4) among the 28 teams.

The Cityzens (13-9-6) enjoyed a 61-39 possession advantage but took only 10 shots.

When asked about the lack of shots taken, Cushing replied, “I think it’s a bit disrespectful to say just because D.C have lost a lot of games and are bottom of the table, that we should just roll them over. You saw tonight the fight and will that they have. It is difficult at the end of the game when you are against nine players sitting in front of the goal. We get into areas where we can put the ball into the box, but we just didn’t get the clean looks. There’s not a lack of trying. We are pushing really hard.”

Cushing sounded like a coach who had a list of excuses. He talked about the team’s effort, which was life.’

But the league doesn’t award points for effort but for winning and recording draws.

“We know at the moment we are not giving the fans what they deserve,” he said. “At the same time that’s not for the will, the fight, the hunger and the desire to give them what they want. As the head coach, I see in moments and many moments to turn this run around. There are many factors at the moment. We are rolling with a really small roster, and you can see the tiredness today in their legs from the previous match.”

Veteran midfielder Maxi Moralez felt City supporters should not be worried about the team’s poor form of late. NYCFC is the defending MLS Cup champions.

“I think in this situation the important thing is qualifying for the playoffs,” he said. “We’re in the top four, so I don’t think we should feel worried. There’s a long way to go, so I think the most important thing is being in the playoffs and then, in the playoffs, this team will change.”

Or else.