New York City Football Club are back in the Bronx on Saturday night.
D.C. United are the visitors in Matchday Four of the 2023 season, in a 7:30pm ET kick-off at Yankee Stadium.
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The Boys in Blue will step out onto home soil for the second time this season, looking to build on last weekend's Home Opener triumph against Inter Miami CF, and continue our impressive recent record.
City have won 14 of our last 20 at home in all competitions, including the last five, ensuring that facing Nick Cushing's side on New York turf is a challenging prospect for any opponent.
Head Coach Cushing spoke after the Miami game of the influence the City faithful had in helping to achieve a positive result, creating another electric atmosphere and pulling the Boys in Blue through in difficult moments, as the team battled to preserve the slender lead.
The 38-year-old called upon everyone connected to the Club to work together to build a 'fortress' for City at home this season, inspiring the squad to more glory, and increasing the chances of securing more home playoff fixtures going forward.
"We have to consistently fight to try and get home playoff games here," he said. "We've had nine playoff games - seven of them away. You can't consistently challenge for MLS Cup if you play seven out of nine games away. We have to fight to get as many playoff games here in front of our fans. That is the aim."
Though it may seem early in the season to be examining that possibility, the stronger the start, the better the chance of a strong finish.
Tickets for the game are now on sale. Don't miss your chance to cheer on the Boys in Blue!
It's safe to say NYCFC and D.C. United know each other pretty well.
The two sides have met 19 times in all competitions, and City have a notable record against the Black-and-Red.
In total, the Boys in Blue have triumphed in 10 and drawn three, recording our biggest ever win in our second 2021 home meeting with a 6-0 rout.
The City Boys have won four of the last six encounters, but fell to defeat in the most recent fixture, and will certainly be wary of that fact.
Like New York, D.C. have had a mixed start to the 2023 season, also registering 1-1-1 from the first three games, salvaging a late draw against Orlando City SC last time out. Belgian striker Christian Benteke has already found the net this term.
However, with home advantage and on the back of our first win of the season, Cushing and co. will hope to push on and make it two from two at Yankee Stadium.
With Tayvon Gray and Alfredo Morales making welcome returns from injury in Saturday's visit of Miami, Cushing could have a close-to-full strength squad available to choose from.
The pair were introduced from the bench at Yankee Stadium, alongside Andres Jasson, as Cushing sought to see out the victory - and the Head Coach was full of praise for all three of his substitutes, hailing their impact, and highlighting the importance of squad depth going forward.
“I thought the huge positive for us as a Football Club was that our substitutes made us better," he said, "and that's where we have to be as a team – we have to be tuned in as a bench, we have to be ready to go and make us better, whether it's chasing the game, whether it's holding the game, whether it's more running, whether it's quality, whatever it is.
“We have a good squad, and we're only going to to make our squad better. If we're going to win football games consistently, our bench has to be ready to make us better, and I think everyone that came on, and the way that we shifted it made us better.”
Justin Haak unfortunately missed the Home Opener with an upper body injury, but hopefully will not be sidelined for long, while Tony Alfaro could face his former Club, should he feature.
Ahead of this weekend's clash., Cushing will share a squad update in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned to NYCFC.com and our official social media channels for updates.
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