NCP PHI SITE

New York City Football Club Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing believes his team know what to expect from Philadelphia Union this Sunday.

The two teams meet at Subaru Park on Sunday having already faced off once this season in a game that Philadelphia won 2-0. This follows on from their meeting in the Eastern Conference Final last season when it was NYCFC that emerged victorious on route to MLS Cup. 

That recency has cultivated a familiarity on both sides, with Cushing detailing where he feels the game will be won and lost on Friday afternoon.

“I think we know their style well,” Cushing said. “They play a 4-4-2 diamond. They will try and control space. They will try and keep us on one side of the pitch so that they can regain the ball centrally and hit us in transition on the counterattack. In moments when we do allow them to have the ball they'll be really direct and they'll try and play for second balls and they'll play off set-plays. 

“Jim Curtin has prepared and created a team that is really good at the way they play. It will be a difficult game, and we'll have to be at the top of our game in finding and using the spaces and opportunities that we get to play our style of football.” 

Elsewhere, Cushing stressed the need for cool heads to prevail on Sunday. NYCFC have been involved in some feisty affairs of late, and the 37-year-old stressed his side must not become frustrated at attempts to disrupt their rhythm. 

“We have to keep our discipline,” he said. “I think it is incredibly frustrating. The Colorado Rapids game was no different. When teams come and break our rhythm consistently with fouls and consistently break the game up it is frustrating for me as well. We want to play a game that excites the fans. We want to play a game that is entertaining. One of the main attributes of that is the tempo and rhythm that we play with, and getting the ball into the likes of Talles Magno, Santiago Rodríguez, and Maxi Moralez and letting them go and play attacking football.

“But that's two games now on the run - Colorado and Red Bulls - where we felt like the emotion spilled over a little bit in the Red Bull game. We’ve spoken to the players. The team knows that we have to be better in those moments and we have to keep our composure and continue to play. We can’t control that and it’s not our job to control that. We just need to make sure that we continue to stick to our game plan.”