New York City Football Club are back on the road this weekend.
The Boys in Blue face Houston Dynamo on Saturday, in an 8:30pm ET kick-off.
Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford...
On The Road Again
Nick Cushing's side are back on their travels. After two successful home games, earning back-to-back wins against Inter Miami CF and D.C. United, the City Boys will look to take that momentum on the road this weekend.
Unbeaten in our last three, and victorious in our last two, NYCFC will have sights set on clinching our first away win of 2023, and building a strong run of momentum.
Speaking after Saturday's win over D.C., Cushing highlighted the importance of picking up points away from home in the quest for silverware, adding he believes his side will learn the lessons from our opening away fixtures.
"If we want to be a winning team, we have to go on the road and win," he stated. "If you want to be in those top four positions [in the Eastern Conference] and we want to progress from last season, and be a team that finishes higher than third - and the aim last year was to finish higher than fourth - you have to get points on the road.
"I believe we have the ability to do that. It's about the team putting in performances now, and making sure we look at the game and we improve. In the Chicago game, we were good in the first half, in the Nashville game, we were good in the second half.
"The nature of our league means home advantage means a lot. It's going to be difficult against Houston but if we want to be a winning team, we have to get points on the road."
Saturday's encounter marks only the sixth meeting between the two sides.
City have fared better in the previous five fixtures, unbeaten in four and triumphing in the most recent encounter - a five-goal thriller in 2019, in which Taty Castellanos snatched a dramatic three points with a stunning late brace.
Cushing and co. will most certainly hope for a smoother ride this time around, and will be encouraged by the fact we have won on Houston soil before: a 2-0 victory back in 2016.
The Dynamo have won one and lost two of their opening three fixtures, falling to FC Cincinnati and New England Revolution but defeating Texan rivals Austin FC in their home opener last time out, with Héctor Herrera netting his first MLS goal, and new recruit Amine Bassi also on the scoresheet.
The Western Conference side conducted a busy off-season, bringing in a new Head Coach in the experienced Ben Olsen, as well as 13 new players (including four MLS Cup winners), while 15 members of last season's roster departed.
With Houston seeking a second successive home win, and City keen to take their recent form on the road, this one marks an intriguing prospect...
The FIFA international break means both sides will have players unavailable for this weekend's contest.
Maxime Chanot (Luxembourg) and Mitja Ilenič (Slovenia Under-19s) will be representing their countries, as will Houston's Adalberto Carrasquilla (Panama), Juan Castilla (Colombia U-20), and Xavier Valdez (Dominican Republic U-20).
Other than that, New York should hopefully have no roster concerns, with Cushing able to field a full roster for last weekend's D.C. clash.
As for the Dynamo, two-time MLS Cup winner Franco Escobar has not featured since the opening day trip to Cincinnati, while Brad Smith is continuing his recovery from an ACL injury sustained in July.
City Head Coach Cushing will share a squad update with a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned to NYCFC.comand our official social media channels for updates.
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