Nick Cushing believes NYCFC have moved one point closer to their goal of a playoff place after Saturday’s 1-1 tie against Inter Miami CF.
The Boys in Blue took a second-half lead after Santiago Rodríguez’s brilliant solo effort, only to be pegged back in injury time by Tomás Avilés’ header.
That forced both teams to settle for a point, and while NYCFC would have preferred all three, Cushing was keen to see the positive in the result as they continue to push for a playoff spot.
“I said to the team then, ultimately at this moment that point takes us one place higher and one point further [toward our goal],” he said.
“Of course, we wanted three and there are areas of the game we have to improve for sure. It wasn't a perfect game tonight from us but this isn't the moment to look at it like two points dropped.
“It has to be the moment to look at it like one point gained. It is a difficult place to come.
“We have to look at it like it gives us more opportunity to go to D.C. United and get a result and that gives us the best chance going into the last game of the season.”
NYCFC entered the contest within a five-game unbeaten streak trailing them, while Miami were keen to recover from a midweek defeat to Houston Dynamo in the final of the U.S. Open Cup.
Rodríguez’s strike looked like being enough to confirm all three points for City, and in reflecting on the contest Cushing acknowledged that he knew his side would have to be at their best when facing off against Tata Martino’s men.
“I have huge respect for the coach here and what he's done in the game,” Cushing said.
“I have huge respect for this team and the way they've transitioned from the team that we played earlier in the season.
“They’ve bought a lot of young talent in and even without Lionel Messi tonight the guys that they brought in are high-level.
"They have young players and some top-quality players like Sergio Busquets, and then players who regularly score goals like Josef Martinez and Leonardo Campana.
“We knew that we were coming up against a team in form, okay, they lost against Houston, but ultimately they won a lot of games and scored a lot of goals lately, and we knew we'd have to be on our best.”
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