New York City Football Club Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing has praised his side's character after their battling draw against CF Montréal.
The Boys in Blue traveled north to Stade Saputo on Saturday night aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in MLS to seven games. A tight and tense affair saw few real chances present themselves for either side, and ultimately, no goals followed. The point kept NYCFC second in the Eastern Conference and confined Montréal to a scoreless game at home for just the second time in eleven outings. Speaking afterward, Cushing praised his team's defensive prowess as they took a point on the road.
"I think it speaks to the character of the team," Cushing said of the shutout. "We have to show both sides of ourselves. We want to dominate games. You want to be able to have the ball and play and create chances, but the nature of this league means home advantage is huge. We want to be a team that can show both sides of ourselves, and defensively it was another game with a clean sheet. Although they had a lot of the ball it didn't think they had much - maybe one change from Mason Toye - but you know the others were half chances and so it was a really pleasing point because like I said in these games you have to show grit and determination to get something out of the game or to complete."
The game also saw another start for Homegrown midfielder Justin Haak. The Brooklyn native made his seventh appearance of the campaign, and his second start, going the full 90 minutes against Samuel Piette and Victor Wanyama in midfield. He produced another assured performance that drew plaudits from teammates and his coach,
"I thought he was really good," Cushing said. "We knew that he was going to have a really difficult game. We knew our midfield was going to have a difficult game. Samuel Piette is a really experienced Canadian International and Victor Wanyama, as you say, his resume speaks for itself. We knew that the middle of the pitch would be really important for us today. We were really disappointed to lose Maxi Moralez. He's got the experience and the leadership and at times he really shows that and he carries us over the line, but I thought Santiago Rodríguez and Talles Magno we put them inside and changed the system a little bit and put Justin just behind them and I thought managed to get a little bit of control defensively. Of course, we want more of the ball but I thought we started to show control defensively and Justin is growing. We need to be mindful that he's still young and he's still only in single figures of MLS games, but he'll continue to grow. We'll review his game we'll continue to push him and we just hope that we can keep bringing out his potential right."