Cushing Preview | “The Fans Will Be Incredibly Important.”


New York City Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing has called upon the City faithful to generate another electric atmosphere at Yankee Stadium for the Hudson River Derby.

The Boys in Blue host Red Bulls on Saturday in another eagerly-awaited clash, looking to secure the double over their rivals after winning 1-0 away in July.

On the back of Wednesday night’s Campeones Cup win, Cushing said the mood around the training camp is high with the squad excited for Derby Day.

With more than three points at stake and local pride on the line, emotion can play a huge part and the Head Coach has urged the loyal fans to replicate the impressive atmosphere from the midweek Cup Final to help spur his side onto victory.

“It’s a really important point to make: that our fans will be incredibly important in the game,” he said.

“It’s at Yankee Stadium again, which is the place where we really feel the energy with our crowds. One thing from me from the Atlas game was that our fans were exceptional – you felt the noise.

“I’d seen a lot of Atlas fans in the stadium – there were a lot of away fans – but the only noise I could hear was from our fans. They really drove us on.

“They can be the driving force for us to replicate that performance and even be better. We’re so proud of our fans, we’re so happy when we hear them and know they’re with us. That’s pretty important for us.

“We will control the emotion and the process of how we perform, but the fans can really drive us on and give us that next level.”

Cushing also confirmed the latest team news, sharing an update on Captain Sean Johnson, who missed Wednesday’s game, and Héber, who was forced off in the first half, while the Head Coach also revealed Maxime Chanot is also likely to miss out.

“Héber is out with a hamstring, we’ve lost Maxime Chanot in training this morning,” he explained.

“We’re waiting for an update on Sean – he’s just trained now and went in from training. I will go back to the medical room now and have a look.

“It’s something he’s finding difficult to shake off. I’m not ruling him out but it’s so frustrating.

“Of course, Sean is our captain and our number one but if he's on international duty or he picks up an injury, like I go in now and he's ruled out again, I have no problem with putting Luis [Barraza] in again.

“Luis is a great guy. He's a guy that has prepared himself consistently show that when he gets the moments, he can take them.

“I think you've seen last year when Sean was on international duty and Luis went in in those games, that he is a competent goalkeeper – he can play in, and win in this New York City team and we saw exactly the same on Wednesday with two incredible saves in really important moments in the game.

“I was really pleased for him. It didn't surprise me though because I know how he trains and the level that he can bring.

“Everybody else is healthy but it’s another one in, one off – same as we’ve had in the last six to eight weeks.

“It’s another challenge but we can adapt the system. I’m confident with Thiago Martins and Alex Callens – they’ve played a lot of good football together – and Malte [Amundsen]’s fresh because he didn’t play.

“That back four has played Tayvon Gray, Malte Amundsen… Alex Callens and Thiago Martins have played a lot together; they’re technically good, they’ve got good chemistry together as well, so it’s really pleasing we’ve got both of those back playing together. For us, it’s about drawing on the experiences we’ve had when they’ve played together previously.

“I’ve said before: our squad can 100% be in a better place when you consider the injuries: no Alfredo Morales, Anton Tinnerholm, Heber, Chanot… It’s difficult, and the likes of Maxi Moralez having to turn around games in two days – you’ve seen previously it’s impossible to play twice in three days.

“Having a short roster and a brutal schedule is difficult but at the same time, we approach this game with confidence because of the team at our disposal. We’ll put a team out that we feel will definitely compete and can win the game.”

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