Nick Cushing: “I think a time like this really challenges the togetherness of the group.” (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
The wheels are coming off the New York City FC wagon and head coach Nick Cushing needs to find a way to keep them on or face severe consequences.
Entering Saturday’s matinee at Yankee Stadium, the Cityzens are coming off a pair of 3-1 home losses and are just about holding up the MLS Eastern Conference.
They need to turn it around ASAP.
City (4-7-4, 16 points) is sitting in 14th place out of 15 teams. If NYCFC ties or loses and last-place Inter Miami CF (5-10-0, 15) wins, the team will fall into the basement. Oh, and Miami fired head coach Phil Neville on Thursday, after the team’s awful start to the season.
No one needs to remind Cushing of the urgency to win as his team prepares for its 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
“I think a time like this really challenges the togetherness of the group,” he said. “t really challenges the cohesion and the spirit in the group. You can go one of two ways. It starts to splinter, and it starts to break, and it becomes a really important job for me to make sure it stays together and to highlight the areas where it’s coming apart.”
“What we’re experiencing, it just pulls you closer together, because each guy sees the will to want to win, sees the effort of each other. I asked for one thing yesterday, and it was to fight. I asked the guys to fight for each other, and in every way, I can see a group that is really, really fighting hard to give 100 percent, if not more, to fight to get through this.”
NYCFC will face a fourth-place New England side (7-3-5, 26) that has become a sieve defensively. The Revs have allowed 11 goals in in last four matches (0-2-2). Their last two results were 3-3 draws, at home against Chicago and then on the road at Atlanta on Wednesday.
“If we stick to the way that we play and if we continue to apply ourselves in the right way, then we can have the same game that we had, in the sense of pushing the game, carrying the game, being the team that has the urgency to go win the game, that has the urgency to really push forward,” Cushing said.
“We know they’re dangerous, we know they’re dangerous in transition, we know [Carles] Gil is dangerous with the ball at his feet, we know that they’re very similar in the sense of [FC] Cincinnati and Philadelphia [Union] that they’re attacking direct and using their number nines if they choose to play two, or just putting the ball up the field and playing on second ball. So we’ll have to carry the same game, hope that the outlook changes … we just need to get the breaks and I think the key thing is that we apply ourselves properly.”